Oregon Struggling With Lowest Graduation Rates

By Javin Dana ’17

In recent years, Oregon has had troubles with its low graduation rates. In 2013, Oregon reached what was considered an all-time low for graduation rates, at 68.7 percent. It was ranked at number 49, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s graduation rates across the nation (Idaho was left unmarked because of discrepancies in graduation data).

Gladstone High School sophomore, Amy Xu, pondering her future college plans. (Photo: Faith Cathcart/The Oregonian)

Gladstone High School sophomore, Amy Xu, pondering her future college plans. (Photo: Faith Cathcart/The Oregonian)

This meant that Oregon had the worst graduation rate of any state in the nation. Incidentally, in 2012, Oregon was ranked as number 46, with such states as Nevada following. However, as depicted in the 2013 chart, while Oregon declined, Nevada and other states struggling with lower graduation rates, improved their schooling systems and college admittances.

Many of Oregon’s state officials, including Oregon Schools Chief Rob Saxton and Oregon Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden, recognize that Oregon’s graduation rates are far too low. However, they noted that part of the issue stems from a lack of inclusivity regarding what Oregon considers “a graduate.”

Moving forward, Oregon plans to combat the issue of low graduation rates in a few ways.

  • changing its definition of what constitutes being a graduate (raising the graduation rate by around three percent);
  • Oregon plans to account for modified diplomas (raising the graduation rate by more or less two percent);and
  • raising awareness of absenteeism, and issues with potential dropouts in high school—improving the general incentive to graduate from high school by expressly explaining the benefits and risks involved.

These, along with a few other alterations to the current schooling system in Oregon, are intended to increase the high school graduation rate to 100 percent by 2025, and the college graduation rate to 80 percent.

Currently, the Oregon government is working to implement new standards to their schooling system, in hopes of mitigating any long-lasting issues regarding college admittance and graduation rates relative to the rest of the U.S.