Now is the Time to Help All Graduates of the Class of 2024 Learn to Read & Write

In seven months, students of the Class of 2024 will be celebrating their high school graduation. There will be caps and gowns, smiling pictures taken, valedictorian speeches, grad night parties and many sighs of relief as students graduate and enter the real world.

Students will be handed a high school diploma as a success indicator representing 13 years of academic work.

Unfortunately, this mark of success in Oregon does not have the same prestige as in past decades. The reputation of Oregon public schools has fallen as standardized test scores remain low and graduation requirements relaxed.

In the October Eagle we ran a story about the history of teaching reading in Oregon public schools over the past 25 years. Sadly, many teachers were not taught how to teach reading using phonics, so a generation of students has suffered. Many are graduating in seven months … will they be able to read and write?

A well-placed source told me that Oregon teachers unions played a large part in the ouster of former Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber. He was replaced by then-Secretary of State Kate Brown. Kitzhaber’s plan to mandate the use of phonics was replaced by Brown’s focus on raising high school graduation rates.

Gov. Tina Kotek is promoting her new Early Childhood Literacy Framework, which targets K-5 students. The Oregon Department of Education website claims that “Oregon is committed to improving literacy learning for every Oregon student.”

Does “every student” include graduating seniors? Why not have an “Early Adulthood Literacy Framework”?

There should be an immediate effort to identify all 12th-graders who cannot read and write at an 11th-grade level.

Based on how reading has been taught in Oregon over the past 25 years, there should be zero shame on students who cannot read at an 11th-grade level. Or even at a 3rd-grade level.

June 2024 will be here in a flash. The time to act is now.

Don’t wait for a new program to get passed and funded in Salem. That won’t happen in time. The teachers unions won’t lead the charge. It’s up to local teachers and administrators to make it happen.

If I were in charge of a classroom, school, or district, I’d head over to McGraw Hill’s Achieve3000 Literacy website. Here’s the website’s pitch: “Accelerate learning growth for all students with Achieve3000 Literacy’s differentiated content and instruction. It is proven to double and even triple expected reading gains in a single school year.”

Do any other school districts use this system? 9,600 districts. “Schools and districts in all 50 states use Achieve3000’s proven learning solutions to help their students reach their goals.”

How many students and teachers use this program? “More than 5,000,000 students and 310,500 teachers are currently experiencing the power of Achieve3000’s solutions firsthand.”

Is it guaranteed? According to the website, “Success for Every Student Guaranteed!”

Learn more about this program here:

Achieve 3000 Literacy

Homeschooling families can purchase this program at the Homeschool Buyers Club.

There are many proven methods for teaching adults how to read. The LDA website lists 11 proven methods for students and adults with reading challenges:

These programs can be assessed and tested out. Find one which works and roll it out to every student who needs extra help.

Many students fake academic proficiency as they get passed from grade to grade during their school years. This includes being able to read and write. I can’t imagine how this happens, yet it does.

The time to “fake it till you make it” ends at high school graduation. To succeed in the real world, students must know how to read and write effectively. Let’s get to it.

Richard Emmons is the Publisher and Editor of the Josephine County Eagle.