April 29, 2011
Oregon high school students may soon need to complete an additional step if they want to receive their diploma.
OregonLive.com reported that the state House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 2732, which would require graduating seniors to provide proof that they are seriously thinking about pursuing postsecondary education or a job after graduation. In order to do so, students would have to complete one of three options: apply to a higher education institution; submit an application to enlist in the U.S. armed forces or attend an orientation session for a training or apprenticeship program.
According to the Oregon Daily Emerald, the bill passed 33 to 26, with one-third support from Republicans and two-thirds support from Democrats. However, despite its approval, many legislators expressed concern about the possible requirement.
The bill's author Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) argued that the legislation could improve Oregonians' employability by encouraging students to think about and plan their future.
"This bill does not intend to tell anyone what the right choice is for them. It merely seeks to prompt consideration of that question," said Read on the House floor.
Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley), however, disagreed. Schaufler argued that the bill does not help put people to work and, therefore, does not adequately address the state's unemployment problem. He also argued that the bill only creates a barrier between high school seniors and the diplomas they rightfully earned.
"Why should my daughter have to fill out some application to get a degree she already earned? This is one more hoop we're making people jump through to get what they deserve," he said.
GOOD education editor Liz Dwyer expressed similar concerns, saying that the bill fails to put into place a structure that would help students understand why college is a good idea or programs that would help guide them through the application process, which may be confusing to some students and their families.
"Without that help, kids who weren't thinking of college before this bill will only be going through the motions after it," Dwyer said.
According to OregonLive.com, the bill does not specify how or who would be responsible for tracking students' compliance. Instead, Read said that would be up to individual school districts to decide. The requirement would not apply to students who earn a GED or extended diploma. It now moves to the Oregon Senate for a vote.
Compiled by Heidi M. Agustin
"Oregon House approves bill adding college application requirement to high school diploma," oregonlive.com, April 25, 2011, Kimberly Melton
"Oregon House bill requires high schoolers to plot course for future," dailyemerald.com, April 27, 2011, Deborah Bloom
"Oregon Makes High Schoolers Apply to College to Get a Diploma," good.is, April 28, 2011, Liz Dwyer