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Report: Oregon still not tracking at-risk student success


SALEM, Ore. (AP) – A report from the Secretary of State found that Oregon hasn’t followed up on recommendations to better track the progress of the state’s most at-risk students.

The report, released Wednesday, said the Oregon Department of Education only made partial progress on three of the 15 recommendations to improve education for students in online or alternative schools. It made no progress on the remaining 12.

The department agreed to implement all 15 recommendations by summer of 2019. The recommendations came from a 2017 audit, which found little oversight over the performance of Oregon’s alternative and online schools. Nearly half of the state’s high school dropouts attend these schools.

The Department of Education said staffing challenges and federal requirements were behind the delay.

Acting Secretary of State Leslie Cummings called the department’s lack of progress “disappointing.”

News release from the Oregon Secretary of State Website:

Follow-up Report on Department of Education Alternative and Online Education Audit SALEM, OR — Today, Acting Secretary of State Leslie Cummings released a report showing the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has made little progress implementing the recommendations made in audit report 2017-30, “Stronger Accountability, Oversight, and Support Would Improve Results for Academically At-Risk Students in Alternative and Online Education.”

The audit, released in December 2017, issued 15 recommendations to the agency. ODE agreed with all of the recommendations. Implementation of these recommendations would help improve education for at-risk students in alternative and online schools and programs. These students account for nearly half of the state’s high school dropouts.

According to the follow-up report, the agency has not fully implemented any of the 15 recommendations. It has taken actions to partially implement three recommendations. Specifically, ODE has:

Developed a clearer definition of alternative schools and programs to use in future data collection; Held work sessions with stakeholders to discuss ways to strengthen attendance and funding standards for virtual schools; and Increased its alternative education program staff in 2019.

ODE needs to conduct significant work to fully implement all 15 recommendations. The agency cited Every Student Succeeds Act requirements and alternative education program staffing as challenges encountered in implementing the recommendations.

“We are disappointed ODE has made little progress implementing the audit recommendations,” said Acting Secretary of State Leslie Cummings. “Fully implementing the remaining recommendations is critical to improving the education of Oregon students in alternative education and online schools.”

Read the full report on the Secretary of State website.

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