Oregon governor signs bill to end reading, math proficiency requirements for HS graduation

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Oregon Governor Kate Brown announces the end of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

SALEM, Ore. (WTVO) — Oregon’s Democratic governor Kate Brown passed a law last week which suspends reading, writing and math proficiency requirements for high school students to graduate.

Brown signed Senate Bill 744 last month. The bill, passed in June, suspends the proficiency requirement for three years, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Oregonian reported that Brown signed the bill privately and did not issue a news release at the time. Secretary of the Senate Lori Brockner told the Examiner that was due to a staffer being out with medical issues.

Supporters of the measure said the academic requirements were an unfair challenge to students who tested poorly.

Charles Boyle, a spokesman for the governor, said the new standards for graduation would aid the state’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

“SB 744 gives us an opportunity to review our graduation requirements and make sure our assessments can truly assess all students’ learning,” Boyle said in an email to the Examiner. “In the meantime, it gives Oregon students and the education community a chance to regroup after a year and a half of disruption caused by the pandemic.”

Republicans criticized the bill for lowering academic standards.

“Senate Bill 744 does not remove Oregon’s graduation requirements, and it certainly does not remove any requirements that Oregon students learn essential skills,” Boyle said, adding that standardized testing should not be conflated with graduation requirements.

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