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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Everyone graduates? It’s ‘just a fantasy’

Oregon’s graduation rate rose to 74 percent in 2015, but 47 other states did better. Photo: Casey Parks/Oregonian 

 Six years ago, Oregon legislators set an ambitious goal for the state’s schools: By 2025, all students would graduate from high school, 40 percent would earn a bachelor’s degree and 40 percent would earn a two-year degree.

Now lawmakers are preparing to drop the education goals, “largely at the urging of the state’s teachers union,” reports Oregon Live.

“It is not realistic,” Rep. Paul Evans, D-Salem, a community college instructor and the primary sponsor of the bill to end the numeric goals, said . . .  Unless the state were to spend $1 billion more a year on education, a drive to get all young people to complete high schools and 80 percent to earn a college credential is just “a fantasy we tell ourselves,” he said. Other lawmakers, community colleges, the state’s higher education commission and Oregon businesses are pushing back, however. They say it’s essential that the state set measurable education goals and doing so has had a big impact on students.

The high school graduation rate, one of the lowest in the nation, has inched up and more students are enrolling in community colleges.

In Maryland, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has threatened to veto a “horrible” bill that protects low-performing schools from state action, reports The American Prospect. The union-backed bill has passed the Democrat-controlled Legislature with a veto-proof majority.

(It) would cap standardized testing measures at 65 percent of a school’s accountability score. Thirty-five percent would be reserved for indicators like class size, absenteeism, and school climate. The bill also would prevent the state from using vouchers and charters as school turnaround interventions, bar the creation of a state-run school district, and require districts and the state to negotiate any school improvement plan with the local teachers union.
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