The state of Oregon says that proving proficiency in reading, writing, or math is no longer required to receive a high school diploma, has required it since 2020, and won’t require it at least through 2029. This makes an Oregon High School diploma completely worthless.
A little over a year ago, I put up a post on what the terms ‘licensure’ and ‘certification’ mean.
Certification is where an entity certifies that a person meets certain standards. The entity issuing the certification can be a private business or a government. The value of the certification lies with the reputation of the entity that issues it.
A diploma is a piece of paper that certifies the person named thereon has met the requirements put in place to receive that certification. It is, in this case, a statement from an Oregon school that the high school graduate has met all of the requirements that the state says need to be met in order to receive the diploma. That way a prospective employer can see that you have graduated from high school, knowing that the person named on that diploma has certain abilities and skills.
In Oregon’s case, just what are those requirements?
Higher rates of students of color, students learning English as a second language and students with disabilities ended up having to take intensive senior-year writing and math classes to prove they deserved a diploma. That denied those students the opportunity to take an elective, despite the lack of evidence the extra academic work helped them in the workplace or at college, they said.
Where is the evidence that a high school diploma helps a graduate in the workplace or college?
Board members underscored that state-mandated standardized tests will still be administered to most Oregon high school students – they just won’t be used to determine whether a student has the skills necessary to graduate.
I know high school students. Make them take an exam that doesn’t count as a grade and isn’t required for graduation, and they will not take it seriously, rushing through it so they can get back to interacting with social media on their cell phones.
Oregon lawmakers, however, have mandated that families be told each year that they can opt their student out of taking state tests – and one third of high school juniors didn’t take the tests last spring, meaning they and their families don’t necessarily know how they measure up against statewide academic standards.
Oh, wait. They don’t even have to take them. That’s how you hide your policy failures- simply stop measuring them. So why are they doing this?
Opponents argued that pausing the requirement devalues an Oregon diploma. Giving students with low academic skills extra instruction in writing and math, which most high schools did in response to the graduation rules, helped them, they have argued.
But leaders at the Oregon Department of Education and members of the state school board said requiring all students to pass one of several standardized tests or create an in-depth assignment their teacher judged as meeting state standards was a harmful hurdle for historically marginalized students, a misuse of state tests and did not translate to meaningful improvements in students’ post high school success.
So they are saying that black and Hispanic students are too stupid to learn reading, writing, and math, but then turn around and claim that those who demand that they learn these things are the racists.