LAUSD: Higher Graduation Standard Approved

By City News Service

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday approved new graduation requirements designed to ensure that students leaving high school are eligible for admittance into a state university.

Beginning with the class of 2016, students will be required to complete the “A-G” requirements that were initially adopted by the district in 2005.
The requirements include a series of core classes that must be completed for students to be eligible for admission at California State University or University of California campuses.

Beginning with the class of 2017, however, students will have to earn a C grade to pass the core classes, up from the current D — matching the requirement set by the UC and CSU systems.

To give students more time to pass the required courses, the district will drop the number of credits needed to graduate from 230 to 210.

Superintendent John Deasy originally recommended that the requirement be lowered to 180 credits, saying he wanted to free up students’ schedules so they can focus on passing the core classes. But board member Steve Zimmer said he opposed making the requirement so low

“The risks that are involved, in my opinion and in the opinion of some of our experts on the ground, to some of the programs that are working best to engage our students and keep them connected and in school would be in great danger if you lower down to 180,” Zimmer said.

Board member Richard Vladovic said he opposed any lowering of the credit requirement.

“I don’t believe in lowering the credits because I believe we’ve got to keep contact time (between students and teachers) as high as we can,” he said.
Deasy deflected criticism that the new graduation requirements would lead to a higher drop-out rate or an inability of high school seniors to meet the standards. He conceded that the standards could be challenging for some students, but he was confident they would succeed.
“They will rise to the challenge, as they always do,” Deasy said.

He added that students do not drop out of school because of tough graduation requirements, saying, “Students drop out because they’re bored out of their minds.”

Several board members, however, opposed the new requirements, saying there was no adequate plan for implementation — to ensure there will be adequate training for teachers and support for students to achieve the guidelines — and no defined budget of what the changes would cost the district.
The issue passed on a 5-2 vote, with board members Marguerite LaMotte and Bennett Kayser dissenting.

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May 10, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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