San Diego Unified’s Grad Rate Is Up– and It’s More Meaningful Than Ever

By John Lee Evans|2 hours earlier
San Diego Unified’s graduation rate reached 91.2 percent this year, consisting of substantial improvements in the graduation rate of blacks and Latinos.
In the 1980s, Jaime Escalante, a mathematics teacher portrayed in the motion picture “Stand and Deliver,” taught calculus at a working-class, largely Latino high school in East Los Angeles. When his trainees passed the AP Calculus tests, there was an instant allegation that they had cheated. How could “those kids” possibly be successful? Well, they did.
When Richard Barrera and I came onto the San Diego Unified School District board of trustees in 2008, we not just wished to enhance the graduation rate, we likewise wished to make graduation more meaningful. In 2011, when we authorized approaching the more extensive A-G course requirements as part of Vision 2020, one talk radio host proclaimed that we would be letting loose hundreds of high school dropouts onto the streets. Well, “those kids” of the class of 2016 proved the naysayers wrong. Higher expectations, along with correct support, produce greater outcomes.
So how is high school altering in San Diego Unified? Initially, we are providing more pertinent courses to engage students and prepare them for the future. Trainees can enroll and internships in engineering, health care, business, information technology, cooking arts, automotive technology, broadcasting and far more. This is alongside standard college-prep courses and music, the arts and athletics. This is not your daddy’s high school. Engaged trainees remain in school and go on to be successful.
We are dealing with our instructors to have high expectations for all of our trainees, no matter background, through our work with the National Equity Job. We now carefully monitor each trainee’s individual development to make sure she or he is on track to finish. We have actually ditched the old credit healing courses that led to an useless diploma and have actually replaced them with online courses authorized by the University of California. Online courses are likewise available for our high-performing trainees who wish to accelerate their learning. We are teaming up with our regional colleges to expose students to university-level work before they graduate from high school.
How could “those kids” succeed? Is someone cooking the books? Here are a few of the supposed problems:

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Not all of the trainees who began as freshmen are consisted of in the graduation rate.
In a mobile society, determining graduation rates is very complicated. Trainees vacate the district and from the state. The state has a standard method for this computation, which San Diego Unified must follow. Last spring, our district estimated our graduation rate to be 92 percent and the final state estimation is 91.2 percent. We compare ourselves to similar districts in the state and came out on top. If the state alters its method after a routine audit, so will we. Charter school students can not be counted. We lose both low-performing and high-performing trainees to charters. Some even come back to the district after they capture up on credits. However we are establishing more programs for both high- and low-performing students to remain at their neighborhood school.
When trainees are behind in credits, they are taken into online courses and do not have to spend “seat time” in a whole course. The ramification is that they are getting diminished curricula.
If a trainee mastered half of the product of a course, it makes no sense to duplicate all of the same product. The student has to find out the product not already mastered. NCAA guidelines for college athletes have been quoted, but that is irrelevant for high school. We follow the gold requirement for rigor, which is UC approval for online high school courses. We likewise use UC-approved online courses for our advanced trainees. UC likewise authorizes our testing program, which enables trainees to get language credit if they are completely literate in a language besides English. We desire all students to be fluent in 2 languages.
Standards were lowered by enabling trainees with Ds to pass college preparation courses.
No standards have been lowered. Ds have actually always been acceptable for high school credit. That is not brand-new, and has nothing to do with the new A-G requirements. We did not lower standards. San Diego Unified requires a 2.0 GPA to graduate. Some districts do not even have a minimum GPA. Have a look at Poway’s requirements. But by exposing all of our trainees to college-prep courses, the real number of our students who accomplished UC/CSU eligibility in this very first year increased by an astonishing 47 percent.
We still have a long way to enter closing the accomplishment space and in ensuring every student succeeds in San Diego Unified. We are increasing our support of English-language students and concentrating on K-3 literacy. Not just will we increase the variety of students who finish, but the diploma will be more significant.
John Lee Evans is a San Diego Unified trustee. Evans’ commentary has been modified for design and clarity. See anything in there we should reality check? Inform us exactly what to check out here.
This short article relates to: Education, Viewpoint, Graduation Rates, School Management, School Efficiency

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