"Don't Shortchange CTE" reads a headline in today's Register-Guard.
Oregon currently ranks near the bottom of state high school graduation rates, having one of the lowest in the country - well below the national rate. That's likely why 1.2 million Oregon voters said "yes" to Measure 98 last November.
The newspaper's editorial board lays out several reasons why the Oregon legislature needs to make funding Measure 98, which expands access to career technical education (CTE), a priority. Among those reasons are:
- A study by the EcoNorthwest consulting firm showed that Measure 98 would more than triple the rate in which Oregon's grad rates are currently predicted to increase. For example, in the Springfield School District, students who have had two or more CTE courses have graduation rates 21 percent higher than the average for all students. Research shows that vocationally-oriented classes can help keep many students in school and direct them toward rewarding careers by providing real-world skills.
- "If the entire state budget is being cut to close a $1.6 billion shortfall, CTE programs — along with the measure’s programs to promote high-school completion and college readiness — might be expected to absorb their share of the reduction. But under-funding [Measure 98] to the extent being proposed ignores the clearly expressed will of the voters. It shows a lack of trust among elected officials for the judgment of the people who put them in office."