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Why Lowering the Bar for LAUSD Graduates Won’t Affect Eagle Rock High

The District’s proposal to reduce graduation requirements runs counter to ERHS’s International Baccalaureate commitments.

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.”

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Scott Martin-Rowe April 19, 2012 at 03:18 AM
I teach in LAUSD at a pilot school that has had an A-G graduation requirement and a 230 credit minimum for 6 years now and I can comfortably say that I don't think that LAUSD is necessarily lowering the bar. They are lowering the number of credits a student needs to graduate, but the graduation requirements are actually tougher. LAUSD does not currently require kids to meet A-G before they graduate, and getting a "D" in already something is considered passing. As of now, students need only 20 credits (2 years) of math to graduate and do not need to take ant foreign languages to graduate. Changing to the new A-G model will mean that students will have a more rigorous course load, but less credits to attain. What is sad is that they are lowering in credit requirement because they that students will need more space to fail classes and there will most likely be less elective classes available to students.
Scott Martin-Rowe April 19, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Oops! I didn't mean to post that yet.
Ajay Singh (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 08:29 AM
Thanks, Scott. Is it correct, as you say, that "students need only 20 credits (2 years) of math to graduate?" I believe 3 years is the correct figure. Also, you say that you teach in a pilot school "that has had an A-G graduation requirement and a 230 credit minimum for 6 years now." But then you go on to say that "LAUSD does not currently require kids to meet A-G before they graduate." Which is correct?
lisa April 26, 2012 at 03:53 AM
It will affect Eagle Rock High and every other High School when LAUSD cuts the funding for electives. They are doing this for two reasons: 1. Give john Deasy an automatic increase in graduation rates that he can brag about. 2. Cut money for LAUSD schools and make them so lousy, the charter schools who are behind Deasy and many LAUSD Board members can steal our schools.
Charlie Wilken May 12, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Fuel on the Fire 9th graders in high poverty schools are comming in with such low skills that A-G will accelerate their failure and create a new fast track to failure. High interest classes will erode away while students are forced to take core classes over and over. The privatization forces are salivating like vultures.

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