High school graduation rates are significantly higher when students take career and technical education (CTE) courses. That’s what four Lane County school superintendents told the City Club of Eugene Nov. 16. For instance, graduation rates for Lane County are 73 percent — not that great. But CTE graduates hit 87 percent, which is much better. Oregon voters were persuaded we need these programs and passed Measure 98 for CTE, but the Legislature has only come up with 55 percent funding so far. Career and technical education takes space and equipment which needs to be maintained and more. As usual, it’s all about money, and that’s the task facing the 2019 Legislature.

• You probably know Oregon is playing Oregon State in the Civil War in Corvallis the day after Turkey Day. You should also know EW reporter Henry Houston will be covering it.

Keep the ‘giving’ in Thanksgiving. 2018 has been an unusual year on top of the unusual nature of the previous two years. Anxiety is the new normal. Thanksgiving, though, is a time to remember the surplus many of us enjoy, and it’s a time to renew efforts to assist those on the mend. From Egan Warming Center to Solidarity Fair Share and other programs, we at EW encourage everyone to be involved in the community this holiday season and beyond.

When a great teacher dies, we should build a memorial. After all, we build memorials for soldiers. Instead a great teacher is lucky to leave a legacy of students whose lives were enriched by the courses that educator offered. In Ray Scofield’s case, those courses included Shakespeare, war literature, Dickens, writing and spelling skills for students at Roosevelt Middle School from 1959 to 1986. After he retired from teaching and was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, Mr. Scofield (as the students called him) volunteered for 13 years in Hendricks Park. His memorial there is Ray’s Bench, a resting spot he treasured. He died Nov. 9. A celebration of life may be held at a later date.

• What we’re reading: After hearing Nancy MacLean on Bill Maher’s HBO show recently, we opened her book Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. A professor of history and public policy at Duke University, she spoke at the University of Oregon not long ago and convinced us that she understands what’s happened to America more than most. Published by Viking, 234 pages, $18.

Hey downtown Eugene, as we enter holiday season, there’s a story you should check out — it gets performed by various theaters around town on a regular basis. It’s called A Christmas Carol, and there’s this character called Mr. Scrooge. EW ran a story online about the 30 or so downtown businesses who sent a letter to the City Council to say thank you for moving the camp out of downtown and to Highway 99. We got some pushback from folks who wanted to clarify they didn’t want the homeless gone, just, you know moved to a spot that doesn’t affect the “fragile downtown.” It’s hard to see that letter as anything less than Scrooge-like if it’s not followed by a serious move on the part of those business to help those affected. So business community, what are you doing? (EW is collecting warm clothing again for White Bird Clinic, please feel free to bring donations by our office at 1251 Lincoln Street.)

SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW editorial board. Heard any good rumors lately?  Contact

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