A plan revealed by the LAUSD Tuesday to reduce graduation requirements by lowering the bar on college-prep classes will not affect even if the LAUSD board votes on the plan next month.
Because ERHS is an International Baccalaureate school—not to mention the first I.B.-certified school in the entire District—it has no choice but to stick to the so-called “A-G” requirements for high school students who want to enter the University of California or California State University systems.
“We always have to follow the Board and District policy, but ‘A through G’ is embedded in the I.B. program and that is going to be our main focus,” said ERHS Principal Salvador Velasco. “If the Board is going to provide the possibility of excusing students from this [A-G], those few that choose to do so can opt out, as provided by the policy of the District.”
The CSU system requires at least a “C” grade in all A-G courses, which encompass seven general subject areas, including English, Math, Laboratory Science, Visual and Performing Arts, and a number of college preparatory electives. The UC system requires a minimum of 3.0 GPA in the A-G courses, which effectively means that students can balance a C grade by getting an A grade in another class.
In its announcement Tuesday, the LAUSD said it is planning to replace the minimum C grade requirement with a D as a way to encourage students to graduate instead of dropping out. If adopted, the plan would be a reversal of the LAUSD's own initiative eight years ago to push students to do better in school overall—and, as the Los Angeles Times reported, would allow students to graduate with 25 percent fewer credits.
About 45 percent Eagle Rock High students went to a four-year university last year and about 50 percent to a two-year state university, according to Velasco, who credited part of those successes to the relatively stringent requirements of the school’s I.B. program.
“We believe we are going to break the 50-percent mark,” the principal said, referring to this year’s graduates who are expected to head to four-year universities or colleges.
“We have a community invested in the idea that we are going to have a school that prepares students for a four-year university experience,” Velasco explained. “Of course, you always have a sprinkling of students who go to the military, but our goal is a four-year experience.”