(UnitedVoice.com) – In high schools across the country, students are required to prove they learned vital skills throughout the 13 years they spent in class. For example, they have to know how to add and subtract. Reading comprehension skills are also critical. Basically, they must show that they know how to do math, read, and write.
Officials in Oregon, however, don’t appear to think those skills are essential to the success of the students as they enter adulthood. The Board of Education recently voted to dumb down requirements for graduation, claiming they hurt minority students. The backlash against the decision has been fierce.
Extending the Pause
In 2020, the Oregon Board of Education paused requirements that students prove they know how to read, write, and do math in order to graduate. On October 19, officials voted unanimously to extend the pause on that requirement until 2029.
The Oregon Department of Education and Board of Education argued that requiring students to pass a standardized test or create a new in-depth assignment to show their proficiency in the subjects would harm students who have been historically marginalized. If the students did poorly on the assessments, they were required to take intensive math and writing classes their senior year to prove they knew the material. The students who were forced to take those classes were usually disabled or minorities.
The state claimed that the tests didn’t translate to post-high school success. It just created a situation where the kids weren’t allowed to take electives, even though officials argued that the intense work had no impact when they went on to join the workforce or go to college.
Dumbing Down Education
Hundreds of Oregonians wrote the Board of Education and the Department of Education, asking officials to reinstate the requirements. They worry that continuing the pause means that the education won’t be of high quality, and students will suffer in the long run.
Christine Drazan, the former Republican gubernatorial candidate, told Fox News that she believes the diplomas in the state will start to look “a lot more like a participation prize than an actual certificate” showing students learned in school and are prepared to “pursue their best future.”
Drazan’s new advocacy group, A New Direction Oregon, led the charge to reinstate the rules. She faced insults from Board Chair Guadalupe Martinez Zapata, who said the efforts to end the pause of the requirements were bigoted. Drazan argued the rules are “not bigoted,” saying it isn’t “racist to want your student to be able to actually learn.”
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