Governor Right to Delay High School Grad Requirements

Oregon’s brave and proud governor, Ted Kulongoski, will seek to delay the new, “tough” graduation requirements for Oregon’s high school students. This is the correct course of action. It must be done and done soon. Here is why:

First, let’s re-visit what these new standards are. Students graduating in 2012 will actually have to complete four credits in English/Language Arts. Students will have to take a math class three of the four years they are in high school. Same for science and social studies. One year of the four they will have to take a physical education class. And one year of the four they will have to take a health class. Also, in three of the four years they must take a class in the arts, career education, or a foreign language and also take 6 electives over the four years. Now, to top all this off, students will actually have to pass state tests in reading, writing, math, and speaking to get a diploma!

There you have it. No wonder we must delay these draconian requirements. Very, very, very few students will ever be able to meet them. They are simply too, too much. Just imagine if you had to deal with requirements like these when you were in high school. I dare say, many of us never would have made it to college. The governor knows very, very, very few students will ever meet them. Thus, we must end them and end them now. We must quit playing games with our children’s future. How embarrassing will it be if Oregon’s low graduation rate goes down even further? Very embarrassing — trust me on that.

I applaud the governor’s brave stand. Many will say students should actually have to take classes and past tests to graduate, but they would be wrong. Oregon doesn’t have the money, time, or resources to accomplish this — the governor said so and I believe him. When you spend $8,000 or more per year per student you can’t really get a lot done. Let’s at least be honest about that. We would need at least $16,000 per year per student just to get them to pass the state tests, let alone all those classes.

We need more counselors, more summer school teachers, more math teachers, and more of just about everything to pull this off. Sadly, Oregon’s business friendly economy isn’t well and cuts will have to be made. We can not force these students to learn and accomplish things against their will. It is silly to presume we can for any price.

Just eliminate these graduation requirements once and for all. Joining 26 other states with such requirements, Oregon’s more rigorous requirements were enacted by a unanimous Oregon Board of Education in June of 2008 after nearly three years of study. What do they know? Certainly not as much as the governor. How could they? They are not governors. They are not students. They are not teachers. They are simply not qualified to make such decisions and the governor has said so. We must save our schools. I stand behind this brave man 101%.

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Posted by at 11:49 | Posted in Measure 37 | 10 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Big Mike Lewis

    Wow. I had it harder than that. Only one year of PE? This is a breeze compared to my high school in California. Sleepy Ted needs some caffeine. This is called education. If my tax dollars are going to other people’s edumacation then they better learn the basics.

  • sybella

    Just imagine if you had to deal with requirements like these when you were in high school. I dare say, many of us never would have made it to college

    That’s funny, I graduated in Wyoming in 1961 with 32 credits, no study hall because I didn’t need it. No, didn’t go to college, didn’t want to,

    These kids today are so spoiled, they play too much. I see so many come in my store to apply for a job and they truthfully don’t have the education to run a cash register. Guess they’ll just have to go skateboarding.

  • Aginibraigorb

    Молодец, чувак, пали темы! Я за тебя болею!

  • Anonymous

    There’s plenty of really great kids coming up through our public schools. I’d say there is hefty growth in the numbers of smart and decent young people which. A fabulous generation IMO.

    Too bad our public schools underserve and aggravate them with programs and reforms that are unworkable theories and experiments.

    The Oregon standards are ranked poorly and have no coorelation to any national norm.
    The only reason we still have the same approach is because those who delivered them with CIMCAM and defended them in the face of total failure are still running our public school system.

    There is no accountability for anything.
    Despite the never ending yammering about standards and accountability.

    This last week the ODE lost a suit requiring the payment of $3.4 million to the compuerized testing company they fired.

    Will anyone at the department get fired?
    There is no such thing as accountability or consequences.

    Oregon jury: State agency, not testing firm, responsible for 2007 online testing woes
    by Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian
    Tuesday November 11, 2008, 11:44 AM
    The Oregon Department of Education, which blamed its East Coast vendor for the catastrophic failure of computerized statewide testing in spring 2007, is itself the guilty party that operated in bad faith and violated the contract with Vantage Learning, an Oregon jury has decided.

    Oregon must pay Vantage $3.52 million, the Marion County jury decided Friday.

    Oregon’s decision to hire a new online testing firm that charges more than twice what Vantage did, raises questions about how well the Oregon Department of Education manages taxpayer money.

  • Anonymous

    Very funny! Stopping implementation of higher school standards is a major public policy mistake that will harm Oregon for many years to come. The “higher” school standards merely represented a minimal level of education to meet tomorrow’s economic and employment challenges. This policy blunder will be among the least noted, and most serious, mistakes that Governor Kulongoski has made. Meanwhile, in the Corvallis High School district, four new, deluxe, tennis courts will continue to offer diversion for students who will not be tasked to achieve the higher standards that are now abandoned.

  • Anonymous

    An interesting concept.

    During the entire 17 years of inplementing the so-called (world class) high standards with the Oregon School Reform fo the 21st Century (CIMCAM) Oregon remainded near the bottom with states requiring the least math and english course requirements for graduation. Had Oregon merely ramped up to the average course diploma requirements we would be ahead of where we are now.
    Had Oregon utilized a, established, nationally normed and proven assesment system we would not have wasted countless resources and time on reinventing our own.
    Had we not exposed our students to years of reckless experimentation our graduating classes would be further elevated relative to national average, SAT performance, graduation and college enrollment.
    Even now as (finally) additional years of math and english are now being required the class of 2014 will be the first.
    These alone will improve performance.
    The idea that the Oregons unique benchmarks are the measure of student performance is invalid.
    So I have no problem jettisoning those Oregon benchmark requirement for graduation.
    If fact those benchmarks were about to be watered down, as has become the routine approach with these “standards” reforms, to avoid a large witholding of diplomas.
    These benchmarks have a way of morphing into rubber stamps that simply duplicate the other graduation course requirments.

  • Joanne Rigutto

    New requirements –
    4 english credits
    3 math years
    3 science
    3 social studies
    1 PE
    1 health
    3 arts, career ed, or foreign language

    What I took at Cleveland Highschool, graduated 1981
    3 years of english classes (the article above gives credits for english not years, but I’m assuming – hoping- that the new requirement is actually years) (3 years required)
    3 years where I took math (3 years required)
    4 years of science – biology (1 year of science required)
    3 years of social studies type classes (3 years required if memory serves)
    1 PE – fortunate for me that there was only one year requirement, I absolutely suck at sports except swimming and riding, at Cleveland we did one section of bowling and I had an average of 21….actually got a prize for it and setting a record for the PE class. (1 year required)
    1 semester of health class (1 semester required)
    5 years of art classes – took 2 my senior year (1 year required)
    4 1/2 years of foreign languages (I don’t think any were required to graduate, but you could could each year of a foreign language after the first year as an english credit with the exception being Latin which even the first year could count as an english credit)

    I figured I got an average education for all of that. I don’t see why the ‘new’ requirements should be all that difficult for kids. The requirements I noted on my highschool education I think were state graduation requirements, not PPS requirements, although I could be wrong. The only problems I could see with these new requirements is that perhaps it would be more difficult for the rural, especially the very rural, schools to comply as far as teaching staff?

    Any one have the current requirements? What are the differences between the new requirements and the current ones?

  • Jerry

    You can find the current standards on the ODE website. They are among the least challenging in the nation.

  • Glen

    I don’t know who Jerry Dawson is, but the suggestion that these new requirements are ‘draconian’ and not achievable defies belief. When I went to high school (albeit in Australia), our curriculum and the standards to be met for graduation were much tougher than those currently proposed for Oregon. It amazes me that Oregon school kids can be expected to embark on meaningful, successful careers when one third of them cannot read, write & spell and almost half of them cannot count count! It’s ok to endorse the Governor’s attempts to restrain suspending in these difficult times, but not ok to support an educational regime that is clearly failing our students and our taxpayers. We don’t need more money, we just need teachers to do their jobs!

  • Jerry

    This article was written tongue-in-cheek. I completely agree with your comments.

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