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The legacy of the pied piper: Obe in Oregon

1 December 1996


Oregon's Educational Act for the 21st Century, otherwise known as HB 3565, brought outcome-based education to Oregon in 1991. As a result of this bill, the State Department of Education began an educational reform campaign which was strongly influenced by William Spady, the "father" of OBE.

After HB 3565 entered the educational arena, educational traditionalists rebelled. Traditionalists argued that HB 3565 emphasized values clarification, and not academics. Traditionalists put so much pressure on Oregon's legislature that a revised form of the bill was passed in 1995. The new bill, HB 2991, emphasized academics more than did HB 3565.

Some supporters of Oregon's educational reform movement deny that OBE was a significant influence. According to my research, however, OBE and its founder, William Spady, had a strong influence on Oregon's educational reform movement. My research also revealed some interesting background behind the passing of HB 3565 that questions whether there was a need to declare; as Governor Barbara Roberts did in ' 1991, an educational emergency in Oregon.

My research ties Oregon's experience implementing OBE, into national and international trends. Oregon is not alone in experiencing traditionalist backlashes, and conservative revisions of OBE reforms. I offer suggestions about what went wrong with the way OBE was implemented, and how OBE can be implemented with more traditional forms of education.


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