SD School Board to Vote on Education Equality
SAN DIEGO- Coming as newly released figures paint a stark picture of broad disparities in educational opportunity in the district, the San Diego Unified School District School Board will consider a resolution today directing the superintendent to ensure that every high school provides its students with equal access to “A-G” courses needed for entrance to California colleges and to prepare them for apprenticeship and vocational programs. If the school board adopts the resolution, SDUSD will become the first district in the county to adopt the rigorous preparatory course sequence as the standard.
A wide coalition of teachers, parents, students, and community groups has pressed for the A-G curriculum. Newly compiled statistics for the school district show wide disparities between A-G completion rates at schools with high percentages of non-white students and free and reduced lunch programs and those from wealthier schools.
“We are pleased that the San Diego Unified School District is taking this important first step,” said Pat Washington, an educator and leader of the Education Consortium of San Diego County. “It is important for the board to take seriously its commitment to ensuring that all San Diego students graduate with the skills and tools necessary to become our future leaders.”
The new 2007-2008 statistics from the California Department of Education and the SDUSD’s School Accountability Report Cards detail the total number of graduates, the total number of graduates completing the A-G requirements, and the percentages of students receiving free or reduced lunches and the percentages of the non-white student population for all six subdistricts. A typical example of the disparity is seen when comparing schools in the same sub-district: at Hoover High (with 97% non-white students and 100% free or reduced lunch participation), only 35% of graduates complete A-G requirements; but at Scripps Ranch High, with 52% non-white students and 15% free or reduced lunch participation), 52% complete the curriculum. Similarly, at Mission Bay High (83% non-white students and 63% free/reduced lunch), only 32% complete the curriculum, while at La Jolla High (39% non-white students and 16% free/reduced lunch), almost 70% complete the A-G requirements. Some smaller schools have even bleaker rates.
A rally with scores of students, teachers, parents and community members will take place directly before the school board meets, Tuesday, June 9, 2009, beginning at 4 pm, at 4100 Normal Street, San Diego, CA 92103. Scheduled to give short speeches are:
– Pat Washington, Education Consortium of San Diego County
– Kevin Keenan, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties
– David Valladolid, President & CEO, Parent Institute for Quality Education
– Kea Hagan, Director of Administration, Urban League
– Jennifer Badgley, Organizer/Agent, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 569
– David Morales, High School Student, Mission Bay High
Students, parents, and a representative of the high tech industry will testify at the school board meeting that begins at 5 pm.
“The San Diego School Board can be a statewide leader tonight and take a big step toward eliminating another opportunity gap that holds kids back,” said Kevin Keenan, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. “Opposing this resolution sends the wrong message, that 60% of our San Diego Unified students shouldn’t have the chance to compete and succeed in our modern economy or college.”