The state of Oregon won’t require high school students to show that they have mastered skills in the critical areas of reading, writing, and math because some protected groups are put at a disadvantage by standardized testing.
On Thursday, the Democrat-controlled state’s Board of Education unanimously voted to extend the pandemic-era pause on proving student proficiency in the core skills until 2029, a policy that some have argued devalues diplomas for Oregon graduates.
“But leaders at the Oregon Department of Education and members of the state school board said requiring all students to pass one of several standardized tests or create an in-depth assignment their teacher judged as meeting state standards was a harmful hurdle for historically marginalized students, a misuse of state tests and did not translate to meaningful improvements in students’ post high school success,” the Oregonian reported.
“Higher rates of students of color, students learning English as a second language and students with disabilities ended up having to take intensive senior-year writing and math classes to prove they deserved a diploma,” the outlet added. “That denied those students the opportunity to take an elective, despite the lack of evidence the extra academic work helped them in the workplace or at college, they said.”
Oregon Board of Education eliminates requirements on writing, reading, and math on students. One has to wonder what students are required to learn by going to public schools, perhaps gender and race theory?https://t.co/TGE1VY1kGl.
— PDX Real (@PDXReal1) October 21, 2023
The vote comes amid controversy with opponents to the relaxed standards having already delayed the vote from September but the “woke” ideology of the leftist board members eventually carried the day.
“We haven’t suspended any sort of assessments,” said board member and Portland Community College dean, during the meeting. “The only thing we are suspending is the inappropriate use of how those assessments were being used. I think that really is in the best interest of Oregon students.”
“We are unable to ethically make a different decision at this point. It is also unethical for us to continue to require this when we know it can continue to cause harm and has had no change in how students are performing,” Oregon Board of Education Chairwoman Guadalupe Martinez Zapata told local news outlet KATU.
One of those blasting the decision was Christine Drazan, the former Republican gubernatorial candidate who released a scathing statement that she posted to X, formerly Twitter.
Despite @newdirection_or activating over 1,400 Oregonians against the proposal, the Board of Education unanimously voted to suspend graduation standards for another four years.
— Christine Drazan (@ChristineDrazan) October 19, 2023
“It’s clear that the Board works for the Governor, not Oregonians. Having appointed six of the nine members of the Board, Governor Kotek is ultimately responsible for their decision to ignore public input. The fact that there was not one dissenting voice on this vote should be alarming to Oregonians,” she said.
“The Board failed to discuss their responsibility for lagging academic achievement in our state. Instead, they cast the blame on a tool to measure a student’s ability to read, write, and do math,” Drazen added. “It’s disappointing that these unelected bureaucrats decided to ignore public comment and continue down a path that neglects their responsibility to help students meet high standards.”
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