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Pass to Play

The California Senate may vote Thursday on legislation that will do more than any parental lectures to help junior high and high school students bring up their grades. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Joseph B. Montoya (D-El Monte), would require those students to maintain a C average to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, band or drama.

The state Assembly has passed parallel legislation sponsored by Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco). Montoya’s bill makes the C average a flat mandate, while Brown’s ties it to cuts in cost-of-living increases if school districts don’t adopt “pass-to-play” policies. Montoya’s approach is better although both would probably achieve the same result.

Los Angeles schools already follow a tougher policy that also limits extracurricular activities when students receive failing grades. Oakland, San Francisco and San Diego--and indeed 51% of the state’s high schools--already require C averages for activities. It works. The athletic program does not fall apart. It is only fair for all students in the state to follow the same rules. It is fairest of all to the students who will leave school with a better grasp of the subjects they went to school to learn.


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