With New Standards, 41% of San Diego Kids May Not Graduate

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According to a new report, 41% of San Diego Unified students may not graduate under new standards set to ensure students are better prepared for college.

The class of 2016 will be the first class to graduate having used the new standards, called the A-G plan, which ensure that college preparation courses are offered equally at all schools across the district.  The standards offer a more streamlined connection to admission requirements to the University of California and California State University systems.

However, a district report discovered that while 59% of students are on track to complete the new requirements and graduate on time, 41% are not – a total of 2,841 students.

“It is troubling to see the data,” said Cheryl Hibbeln, who was promoted from Kearny High School principal to the district’s chief high school administrator in July. “We have a year and a half to make sure this class has what it needs. I think we can do it. We need to get away from triage and move to a system that serves kids.”

The report shows a higher level of graduation preparation for girls at 66% than boys, who come in at 54%.  Also discovered, white (80%) and Asian (71%) students are more likely to graduate under the new standards than black (45%) and Hispanic (44%) students.

Executive Director of Alliance San Diego Andrea Guerrero said the report’s findings show progress is being made.

“We see this as an important step in the right direction. This is the first opportunity that we’ve had to see what the progress is for the class of 2016, and we now know where the work needs to be done,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero went on to say the report shows where support and interventions are most needed to help students complete the requirements.  Proper attention will be given to those schools.

“For example, if all the F grades are clumped together in a specific subject area, we need to focus in on that subject area in making sure students get the support and intervention they need and that teachers are getting the professional development they need,” she said.

The new standards require four years of English, three years of math, three years of history, three years of science, two years of the same foreign language, and one year of visual and performing arts.  A “D” is required in all classes to pass, and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 is necessary to graduate.  The largest changes include requiring two years of the same foreign language, a third year of math, and the one year of visual and performing arts.