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Gov. Kate Brown announced education innovation officer at Monday's Oregon Business Leadership Summit.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday the creation of a new education innovation officer position to help boost the state’s dismal high school graduation rate.

Brown made the announcement during an education panel discussion at the Oregon Business Leadership Summit, where she outlined some of her education priorities.

“The position will assist me, my education team and the Legislature in dedicating resources to increase the number of students who graduate from high school,” Brown said from prepared comments.

“There is no question that our education system must be accountable to better student outcomes, including increasing our high school graduation rate,” Brown said.

“But accountability also means ensuring that, as a state, we are empowering the best and most effective practices in our classrooms that support student success,” she said.

The administration has yet to complete a job description for the position and to post the job, said Brown spokeswoman Kristen Granger. She gave no timeline for hiring.

Oregon has the fourth lowest graduation rate in the nation, up from the worst in the nation in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The state's 2014 graduation rate was 72 percent compared to the national average of 81.4 percent

John Tapogna of ECONorthwest said Monday the state’s graduation rate mars Oregon’s reputation in the eyes of employers considering relocating to the state.

“It is really damaging to the state’s reputation in a very tangible way,” the public policy consultant said

The state’s graduation rate is perplexing because it doesn’t align with the state’s test scores, Tapogna said.

By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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