The LAUSD has set a goal of a 100% graduation rate. The students, parents and community should expect nothing less. Unfortunately, the results fall far short. In the 2013 - 14 school year, only 67% of students in the district graduated in four years and only 41% of students are “graduating and passing all A-G courses.” The fact that a Board Member would ask for re-election based on those “record numbers” is appalling.
This is another issue that calls out for new blood on the LAUSD Board of Education. As a member of the Board I will:
- INCREASE ACCESS TO VOCATIONAL TRAINING: When the district states that the only way to accomplish their mission is for “every student to graduate college and career ready,” then they marginalize those who do not want to pursue an academic track after high school. We need to demonstrate to these students that we also care about their pursuits. The best way to do this is to bring vocational training, including the Industrial Arts, back to our schools. These classes should be part of diploma track that provides an equally intensive alternative to the “fifteen-course college preparatory sequence” that is currently required.
- FUND MUSIC AND ART PROGRAMS: “Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas.” “Students who took more that the minimum requirement [of one credit of art education] were 1.5 times more likely to meet or exceed the ACT Plan national average composite score.” For students who are artistically inclined but having trouble in their academic subjects, art and music classes provide a much needed safe-zone in their school day and may be the reason they are inspired to stay in school. Therefore, the arts need to be reprioritized.
- GET SERIOUS ABOUT EARLY INTERVENTION: Students do not wake up one morning and decide that they are dropping out of school. The district must recognize the warning signs and have plans in place to get these students back on track. For example, one of the warning signs is truancy, but even before MiSiS, an audit showed that the district was not accurately capturing attendance data.
There is one move that the LAUSD Board has made that should improve graduation rates next year. Beginning with the Class of 2016, the district will begin “reestablishing the minimum number of credits to graduate from 230 to 210.” Why change policy when you can just lower the bar?