Typically, in order to graduate, students need to take prerequisite exams on math, reading, and writing to demonstrate proficiency. The exams were first suspended during the pandemic. Brown approved Senate Bill 744 last month, but news of her signing wasn’t made public until recently.
Charles Boyle, the deputy communications director from Brown’s office said that the new graduation guidelines will be helpful for “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color” who live in Oregon.
Marc Siegel, communications director of the Oregon Department of Education, told KATU-2, “Senate Bill 744 does not remove Oregon’s graduation requirements, and it certainly does not remove any requirements that Oregon students learn essential skills.”
He added that the bill promotes equitable graduation standards, and helps the state in cultivating new graduation requirements.
“Including the demonstration that students have learned essential skills that are more inclusive and better reflect the learning of all students. SB 744 gives us an opportunity to review our graduation requirements and make sure our assessments can truly assess all students’ learning. In the meantime, it gives Oregon students and the education community a chance to regroup after a year and a half of disruption caused by the pandemic,” Siegel said.
A number of Republicans were not in favor of the bill, saying that it reduces “expectations for our kids,” while those who advocated for the bill said that the tests can be difficult for students who don’t test well. There was some bipartisan support for the piece of legislation.