An anonymous reader quotes a report from Oregon Live: For the next five years, an Oregon high school diploma will be no guarantee that the student who earned it can read, write or do math at a high school level. Gov. Kate Brown had demurred earlier this summer regarding whether she supported the plan passed by the Legislature to drop the requirement that students demonstrate they have achieved those essential skills. But on July 14, the governor signed Senate Bill 744 into law. Through a spokesperson, the governor declined again Friday to comment on the law and why she supported suspending the proficiency requirements. Charles Boyle, the governor’s deputy communications director, said the governor’s staff notified legislative staff the same day the governor signed the bill.
Boyle said in an emailed statement that suspending the reading, writing and math proficiency requirements while the state develops new graduation standards will benefit “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.” “Leaders from those communities have advocated time and again for equitable graduation standards, along with expanded learning opportunities and supports,” Boyle wrote. The requirement that students demonstrate freshman- to sophomore-level skills in reading, writing and, particularly, math led many high schools to create workshop-style courses to help students strengthen their skills and create evidence of mastery. Most of those courses have been discontinued since the skills requirement was paused during the pandemic before lawmakers killed it entirely. The state’s four-year graduation rate is 82.6%, up more than 10 points from six years ago. However, it still lags behind the national graduation rate averages, which is 85 percent.
Oregon’s graduation rates currently rank nearly last in the country. But it’s complicated because states use different methodologies to calculate their graduation rates, making some states appear better than others.
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