Governor Kate Brown signed a law that allows Oregon students to graduate without demonstrating that they can write or do arithmetic. She doesn’t want to talk about it.

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For the next five years, an Oregon high school diploma is no guarantee that the student who earned it will be able to read, write, or do math at the high school level.

Governor Kate Brown had objected earlier this summer whether she supported the legislature-passed plan to remove the requirement that students demonstrate that they have acquired these essential skills. But on July 14th, the governor signed Senate Law No. 744.

Through a spokeswoman on Friday, the governor again declined to comment on the law and why she supported the suspension of the qualification requirements.

Brown’s decision was not public until recently because her office neither held a signing ceremony nor issued a press release, and the fact that the governor signed the law was not added to the law database until July 29, a departure from normal practice of updating the public database on the same day an invoice is signed.

The Oregonian / OregonLive asked the governor’s office when Brown’s staff notified the legislature that they had signed the bill. Charles Boyle, the governor’s assistant communications director, said the governor’s staff notified the legislature the same day the governor signed the law.

Boyle said in a statement emailed that the suspension of literacy and math requirements while the state develops new graduation standards, “Oregon Blacks, Latinos, Latinas, Latinx, Indigenous, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Tribal – and color students “will benefit.

“Leaders in these communities have consistently advocated fair graduation standards, expanded learning opportunities and support,” Boyle wrote.

The legislature and the governor have not decided on any major expansion of learning opportunities or support for black, indigenous and colored people during this year’s legislative period.

The requirement that students demonstrate literacy, and especially math, from first year through second year of study has led many high schools to set up workshop-style courses to help students improve their skills and demonstrate their skills To achieve mastery. Most of these courses were discontinued because the qualification requirement was suspended during the pandemic before lawmakers ended it entirely.

Democrats in the Legislature overwhelmingly backed ending the longstanding qualification requirement, while Republicans criticized it as lowering academic standards. A few MPs crossed the party lines in the votes.

Proponents said the state must suspend Oregon high school graduation requirements, which began in 2009 but was already suspended during the pandemic, until at least the 2024 graduate class so that executives can re-examine their graduation requirements. Recommendations for new standards should be submitted to the legislature and the Oregon Board of Education by September 2022.

However, since Oregon education authorities have long insisted that they would not impose new graduation requirements on students who have already started high school, new requirements would not go into effect until class 2027 at the earliest. This means that at least five more classes can be expected to graduate without having to prove mathematical and written knowledge.

Much of the criticism of the degree requirements was aimed at standardized exams. However, unlike many other states, Oregon did not require students to pass any standardized test or any test at all. Students were able to demonstrate their ability to speak and count English by taking around five different tests or by completing an in-depth classroom project that was assessed by their own teachers.

A variety of factors appear to have led to a lack of transparency in the governor’s signature decisions this summer. The Senate Secretary’s staff is responsible for updating the law database when the governor signs a Senate bill. Senate Secretary Lori Brocker said a key person involved in the governor’s office had medical issues in the 15 days between Brown signing Senate Act 744 and updating the public database to reflect this.

Still, a handful of bills the governor signed on July 19 – including a bill creating a training program for childcare and preschool providers aimed at reducing suspensions and expulsions of very young children – were updated and signed in the law database on the same day , and instant email notifications were sent to the people who signed up to track the bills.

No notice of the governor’s signature of the Conclusion Act was ever published. This was due to the fact that the software provider had blocked the law updates for media representatives and the public who had requested them by the time the information was delayed by the legislature on July 29th in the law database. They suspended it because of a system malfunction on July 21, said Bill Sweeney, systems architect for the Legal Information Service.

– Hillary Borrud; [email protected]; @hborrud

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