Today, the Latino Network of Oregon, the Coalition of Communities of Color, and Stand for Children Oregon announced their lead role as coalition sponsors for Initiative Petition 65 (IP 65). They head up a growing list of supporters like Adelante Mujeres, Benson Tech Foundation and Native American Youth and Family Center campaigning to improve Oregon’s high school graduation rate, and career and college readiness.
As the economy grows, IP 65 will target new money to Oregon’s most pressing problem—the state’s critically low graduation rate. If passed this November, it will directly fund proven high school that will increase student success. It will expand career-technical education (CTE) programs and college-credit courses, and implement proven dropout prevention strategies across Oregon.
“Oregon’s high school graduation rate is one of the lowest in the country, and last year, only 66 percent of kids of color graduated on time, a full 10 points behind white students,” said Julia Meier, executive director of the Coalition of Communities of Color. “It is time to take action to help Oregon’s students, particularly our most vulnerable students, because they cannot afford for us to wait any longer.”
Oregon’s public schools have great kids, dedicated teachers and hardworking staff, but the numbers show that our high schools are ill-equipped to serve our students, especially students of color:
- Last year, over 2,500 kids of color dropped out of high school in Oregon, at rates significantly higher than their white peers, according to the Oregon Department of Education.
- Only 15 percent of black students, 16 percent of Pacific Islander students, 21 percent of Hispanic students, and 22 percent of American Indian students leave community college with a certificate or degree, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.
However, at schools where students have access to career technical education, college-level coursework and dropout prevention programs, students of color fare far better in high school and college. For example, a report released by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) found that CTE students are 15.5 percent more likely to graduate high school in four years than students statewide. Students of color benefit even more. The graduation rates for African American students are 24 percent higher than those of African American students statewide, 21 percent higher for Latino CTE students, and 23 percent higher for Native American CTE students.
“Students of color cannot wait around any longer for adults to do something about Oregon’s disturbing graduation rate,” says Carmen Rubio, executive director of the Latino Network. “This initiative quickly creates opportunities that will support students in succeeding in high school and college. We are proud to call ourselves a coalition partner.”
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