Salem-Keizer schools sees slight decline in graduation rate – Salem Reporter:

Salem-Keizer Public Schools touted Thursday successes in its 2022 high school graduation rates despite a slight decline compared to the previous school year.

The Oregon Department of Education released K-12 graduation rates for the state showing the second highest in the state’s history — 81.3%, compared to 82.6% during the 2019-20 school year.

The Salem-Keizer School District graduated 79.83% of students, a 1.08% decline from the previous year and a 1.18% decline from 2019-20.

“We know we have more work to do and will continue to improve our systems on behalf of our students,” Superintendent Christy Perry said in a statement. The district said Thursday no district officials were immediately available for interviews on the new information.

The district’s said that the 2022 rate “marks an improvement over pre-pandemic levels for years 2018-19,” which was 79.13%. What’s more, the 2021-22 graduation rate is up eight points from the 2015-16 school year, when the rate was 71.71%.

I find Perry’s quote telling, for it betrays the District’s educational philosophy: Failure of a student to graduate is not the fault of the student; it’s the “systems” that need to be improved. That these “improvements” consist mainly of dumbing down educational standards past the point of idiocy is left unmentioned, as does the notion that some students are so academically insufficient as to not warrant graduated. 

The most rational quote came from the nonprofit Oregon Moms Union who hit the nail on the head:

“The Oregon Department of Education has dumbed down the education system, and now they’re bragging about graduation rates,” said MacKensey Pulliam, president of the Oregon Moms Union. “It’s easy to show an increase in graduation rates when they remove requirements that students show they can read, write and do math at a 10th-grade level. All the new numbers show that Oregon high schools are turning into diploma mills.”

That their founder is a right-winger from the American Enterprise Institute causes some pause, and quick perusal of their web site highlights their priorities: (1) Demanding that the Oregon School Boards Association leave the National School Boards Association and (2) Repeal the teacher/school volunteer Covid-19 vaccine mandate. The former  is a reasonable idea with limited consequence (or utility), making it a strange campaign choice. The latter is simply a terrible idea, as vaccine mandates are the best way to protect a populace. 

That said, they’re not wrong about the Oregon Department of Education and graduation rates.