SFUSD high school students face new requirements
September 6, 2010 5:45 PM
For the San Francisco Unified School District's class of 2014, the path to graduation has suddenly become more challenging.
A measure implemented by the district in 2009 has mandated that starting with this year's freshman class, all students will be subject to meeting California State University and University of California eligibility requirements in order to receive a high school diploma, whether or not they have their sights set on higher education.
"In coming to this decision, we recognized that currently most living wage life options require a much higher degree of preparation than in the past," said district Chief
Academic Officer Francisca Sanchez. "Even jobs that are still considered 'blue collar' often require the same level of academic preparation that is routinely provided by a college prep course sequence."
The choice to attend college is up to each student, but with this new requirement, the district is hoping high school students will choose to continue their education.
"Raising the graduation requirements ensures our graduates have every possible opportunity to go to college," said SFUSD public relations coordinator Heidi Anderson.
However, all classes meeting university specifications must be passed with at least a C grade. Students in years past who received D's and in some cases F's were given passing grades and were able to earn diplomas.
Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, which focuses on helping low to moderate-income students and their families, agree with the decision and want to combat the district's high dropout rates among minority students.
"Black, Latino and Pacific Islander students in the district have had much lower rates of graduation than those of white and Asian background," said Pecolia Manigo, head of the
According to a 2007-08 report by the California Department of Education, black and Latino students accounted for more than 60 percent of all high school dropouts within the SFUSD.
Those who do graduate often see SF State as an ideal destination. According to the University website, students of color account for 67 percent of the undergraduate student body,
"Our task force here at Coleman wants to see that all high school students are fully prepared under these new guidelines, regardless of race or economic background," said Manigo. "We hope that when students are motivated more, they will have the desire to succeed."
Manigo stressed the need for school improvement in low-income neighborhoods and emphasized student power.
"The city needs to do more to combat these high dropout rates," said Manigo. "Not all schools require the same amount of money and attention. However, it's our right to be entitled to an education and we're responsible for our future."
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