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In the face of a damaging vote by the Newberg School Board, Newberg educators rally to support their Black and LGBTQ+ students.
The Oregon Department of Education is seeking educator and community input on what Oregon’s high school students should know and be able to do before graduation. Educators can join online community conversations and also take a survey to share what they believe matters most.
These conversations are part of a larger review of Oregon’s graduation requirements prompted by Senate Bill 744, a bill passed with OEA member support in the 2021 session. Senate Bill 774 suspends the essential skills graduation requirement through the class of 2024 and requires ODE to engage with educators, families, students, and other community groups to review:
In addition to these community gatherings and the statewide survey, ODE is also meeting with key groups including high school students, educators, counselors, and special education teachers. These groups and their experiences with Oregon’s graduation requirements are critical voices as they are the groups closest to the high school and graduation experience.
Please help increase educator voices in these vital conversations that impact students across the state.
The Oregon State Board of Education last changed the state graduation requirements in 2007. These changes included increasing the required number of credits to 24 and adding nine essential skills, deemed as skills that cross academic disciplines and included thinking critically, global literacy, and using technology. The board also added a requirement for graduates to demonstrate proficiency in three of the nine essential skills – reading, writing, and math. This proficiency requirement was in addition to the need to earn 24 credits with passing grades.
Students could demonstrate proficiency in these three areas in several ways including the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the SAT and ACT, certain portions of the GED exam, WorkKeys, IB and AP exams, and locally created work samples. Most students in Oregon met this requirement via the Smarter Balanced Assessment during their junior year.
The disruption of in-person learning in the spring of 2020 caused major disruptions to students’ ability to demonstrate proficiency in the essential skills. For the class of 2021 who were in 11th grade that spring, they lost the major opportunity to demonstrate proficiency – Smarter Balanced – as no students in the state took the test. For the graduating class of 2020, some students lost the opportunity to complete work samples to demonstrate proficiency if they had yet to do so. As a result of this and the continued COVID-19 disruptions to in-person learning, the State Board suspended the essential skills graduation requirement for the graduating classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022.
During this time, ODE completed a rigorous data analysis looking at how students in different groups demonstrated proficiency in the three essential skills. A concern emerged from the data, which shows that white students predominantly meet this requirement by achieving a certain score on the Smarter Balanced Assessments while non-white students, particularly African American/Black students, meet this requirement through local work samples. This disproportionate data raises several equity concerns.
Oklahoma is one of many states who have placed legal restrictions this year on how educators can approach the topics of race and gender in their classrooms.
But, the ACLU argues that this legislation is unconstitutional and strips teachers of their right to free speech and equal protection.
The lawsuit states that HB 1775, which passed the Oklahoma legislature in the Spring, unnecessarily and unlawfully censors educators’ ability to teach historical truths, specifying the Tulsa Race Massacre.
It also alleges that the law creates a hostile environment for LGBTQIA+, Black and Indigenous students.
Educators and administrators are already becoming fearful of losing their licenses in their quest to provide an accurate depiction of history and the current experience of minorities in the United States, the suit claims.
The next court date is set for the Spring of 2022.
Education Support Professionals (ESP) have long been the backbone of our schools, but never more than this school year. Our ESPs have kept our schools and students safe and cared for throughout the pandemic, and now it’s time to sing their praises! Nominations for the Oregon ESP of the Year Award will be open until January 3, 2022, so take a moment to recognize an amazing support staff member today! The winner will be chosen in April, 2022 and will receive a $5,000 cash prize.
Visit https://oregonteacheroftheyear... to learn more about the guidelines and to submit a nomination.
As more K-12 dollars flood in through the American Rescue Plan, Oregon leaders must address a glaring equity gap. Currently, the state spends over $1,000 less per student than the national average of $15,114. But the number is much lower for students who attend schools in high-poverty areas.
According to the Education Law Center’s 2021 report: Making the Grade - How Fair is School Funding in Your State?, Oregon spends just over $13,000 per student in schools with the highest levels of poverty. The state received a ‘D’ grade for distributing funding equitably among schools with the most need.
The reality is that the complex school finance system that is used to calculate state school budgets leaves Oregon schools without the necessary resources to provide quality public education to students.