Last month, Oregon’s Democratic Governor Kate Brown quietly signed a bill into law that suspended graduation requirements that students demonstrate proficiency in math, reading, and writing.
The bill, which was passed by the state Senate in June, suspends the requirements for three years in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted public school classes across the nation.
However, there were also very clearly stated goals that the bill would also benefit minority students, which supporters say do not always test well in these subjects, which has attracted quite a bit of backlash from political opponents who say that this is not only inherently racist but will only let down students by lowering expectations.
The bill was intended to “truly reflect what every student needs to thrive in the 21st century” according to Foundations for a Better Oregon.
In an email to The Oregonian, as reported by Fox News, Brown’s office explained that the lowered graduation requirements will help Oregon’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”
Brown’s office did not, however, announce that the bill had been signed and it wasn’t entered into the state database for two weeks thanks to a “glitch,” purportedly.
In June, an editorial in The Oregonian slammed the bill, contending that because “Oregon schools were among the last in the country to reopen to in-person instruction during the pandemic,” the state’s legislators “should be focused on how to help students regain the ground they’ve lost after a year and a half of distance learning and hybrid instruction – not on lowering our standards.”
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