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Oregon HS graduation rates still among lowest


Once again, Oregon’s high school graduation rate is among the worst in the country.

“As the years go on, it gets more and more frustrating,” Summit High teacher Travis Overley said Tuesday. “I see the potential, I see the potential with these kids, and I see what we could do for them. And we can’t because of budget cuts.”

The U.S.. Department of Education data out this week showed fewer than 74 percent of Oregon seniors earned their diplomas in 2015, the third-lowest graduation rate in the nation.

“I would say that if we were given the same amount of funding that some of the other states are given, that we wouldn’t be in the position than we are in right now,” said Mark Neffendorf, principal at Madras High School.

According to Education Week, Oregon is ranked 39th in school funding. As a result, many classrooms are now jam-packed, and individual attention is often a thing of the past.

“Forty to 45 kids in a room, and there’s nowhere to sit down,” Overley said. “The teachers are overloaded, sometimes 250 kids in their caseload,”

While class sizes have grown, the number of class days has shrunk.

“We also have a known short calendar, when you compare Oregon’s school calendar to those states, even around us,” said Redmond School District Superintendent Mike McIntosh.

On average, Oregon students only have 165 class days, compared to 180 for the rest of the nation.

“One study suggests that in Oregon a student who has gone 13 years, kindergarten through 12th grade, might have actually gone a year less,” McIntosh said.

Educators said it’s a frustrating battle, but are hopeful things could start looking up.

“We’re lucky, Oregonians have an opportunity this election cycle, to really make significant changes in our schools,” said Overley.

Information on how different Oregon schools rank can be found here.

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