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IPFS News Link • Oregon

Oregon Gov Kate Brown scraps need for high school students to prove proficiency in math...


The state of Oregon will no longer require its students to demonstrate proficiency in math, reading and writing in order to earn a high school diploma in a bid to bolster minority students.  

Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill late last month suspending the state's 'essential skills' requirement for graduation for the next three years while its Department of Education seeks alternative graduation requirements.

The bill extended a suspension of the requirements that was put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.   

Proponents of the measure have said the state's proficiency specifications hurt disadvantaged students, while opponents say suspending them lowers the state's learning standards. 

Charles Boyle, a spokesman for Brown, said the suspension 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 said. 

The bill, SB744, passed both chambers of Oregon's Democrat-led Legislature in June, largely along party lines, with pushback from Republicans. 

It came as the US education system has come to a crossroads over how it approaches issues of race and equity, with fierce conflict over the teaching of critical race theory - a divisive academic movement that has driven a wedge in the nation's education system in recent months.