Ds getting degrees is nothing for L.A. Unified to celebrate

To the editor: The Los Angeles Unified School District says it is making dramatic gains in student graduation rates by helping them meet new requirements using strategies such as allowing kids to take online courses for credit recovery. The district anticipates a graduation rate as high as 80%. ("Despite new requirements, L.A. Unified's projected graduation rate soars," Feb. 19)

This year's seniors are required to complete college prep classes with a passing grade of D or better. So, are we supposed to be thrilled that students are allowed to graduate high school while earning Ds when we know that this would hinder their chances of getting into a University of California or California State University campus?

According to the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, "California will not meet its 2025 workforce needs if it fails to strengthen its education 'pipeline,' particularly for African American and Latino students." The key here is strengthening education, not lowering standards.

As long as L.A. Unified fails to help students meet college admission standards, it will continue to leave kids unprepared for work or higher education.

Evelyn Macias, Reseda



To the editor: I've been teaching for three years. Previously I was an attorney at the public defender's office.

At the high school where I teach, it is common practice in my department to give students credit for classes they're not taking. A student is enrolled in one class, but the teacher gives the student a grade for two.

"Zero period" is another popular way to give students credit for classes they've failed. The students do "packets" of work to get credit. You'd think the kids would need intensive support to help them learn material they've failed to master in the classroom, but these students do not receive instruction, just assistance completing their packets.

So, at what cost are graduation rates projected to soar? Handing unearned diplomas to kids who struggle so mightily seems so blatantly unfair from where I sit.

I'm sure LAUSD will have 1,001 justifications for what it does, but I can't think of one that would pass the stink test with me.

Stephanie Sauter, El Segundo

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