By Vicki Olson,
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed SB 744 (2021) ending reading and math proficiency requirements for graduation 2021 through 2024. The argument was that the existing educational proficiency standards were flawed.
Will there be any negative impacts? Some students were already trailing far behind grade level before the pandemic-induced shutdowns.
The Oregon Department of Education released the statewide testing results for 2021-2022, and Oregon students’ reading, writing, and math skills plunged.
The Oregonian reported that across grades three through eight, just 39% of students scored as proficient at reading and writing last spring, down from the previous low of 51%, and just 28% scored proficient in math, far below the previous low point of 40%.
Salem-Keizer, Oregon’s second largest school district, had scores below the state average in all three core subjects,21% in math, 24% in science, 20% in English.
In Umatilla, a rural district, proficiency was 11% in science, 20% in English, and 21% in math.
The Oregon Department of Education acknowledged that it could take years to repair the decline in academic skills and may in some cases never be made up.
“Legislative Democrats have completely lost track of the entire reason we send children to school — to learn,” said RSLC Spokesman Zach Kraft. “Their continued efforts to put their political agenda over what is best for children is downright shameful.