It’s official. Through the 2023-2024 school year, Oregon high school students will not be required to show proficiency in math, reading or writing to graduate.
Some people worry it’s a dumbing down of graduation requirements. Others insist it was important to put the requirements on hold to ensure they are equitable.
Gov. Kate Brown signed the law that does this, Senate Bill 744, with little notice. There was no signing ceremony. There was no press release. It wasn’t entered into the legislative database until many days after it was signed on July 14.
The bill was passed because of a concern that Oregon’s students of color may face unfair obstacles under the current requirements. It instructs the Department of Education to review the requirements to ensure they are equitable. And if the department decides requirements should be retained, the department is instructed to come up with alternatives for students to accomplish them.
Unless the makeup of the Legislature switches dramatically and this bill is reversed, the way to influence high school graduation requirements will be to follow and comment on the Department of Education’s review. The law specifies that the review must be transparent and accessible. We emailed the Department of Education on Monday morning to ask for more details. No plans have been announced yet, a spokesman told us. If you want to influence these requirements, we will keep an eye out for how you can participate.