Governor Brown suspends proficiency requirements for Oregon graduates for the next five years.
This week, Kate Brown signed legislation into law suspending proficiency requirements for graduating high school students. Now, Oregon’s graduating seniors are no longer required to demonstrate their ability to perform reading, writing, and mathematics at high school levels before receiving their diploma. Charles Boyle, Brown’s Deputy Communications Director, said in an email that suspending the proficiency requirements will benefit “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”
Rational people might wonder how not equipping graduates with basic literacy and math skills will benefit them in their adult lives, and Kate Brown appears to have picked up on the public’s skepticism. She quietly signed the bill into law with no announcement and delayed updating the public legislation database—both deviations from her standard bill-signing fanfare.
The Oregon Department of Education lists “Graduating our students college and career ready” as their top priority. Many Oregonians are now speculating how public schools can turn out “college and career ready” graduates if there’s no guarantee they have the literacy and math skills they need to succeed in the real world.
Instead of meeting the needs of students struggling to reach proficiency standards—through tutoring, mentoring, and supplemental education—Governor Brown tossed out the standards, leaving our most marginalized and vulnerable students to fall through the cracks. This is an egregious dereliction of duty.