A “credit-recovery binge” helped Los Angeles Unified raise its graduation rate to 75 percent — while requiring all students to pass college-prep courses, reports the LA Times. Are credit-recovery graduates prepared for college, jobs or anything else?
“When we see kids completing three years of high School in a year through credit recovery, that should raise alarms,” said Pedro Noguera, director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of School Transformation.
The district can’t track how those students earned diplomas, reports the Times.
In some cases, students were allowed to make up work to change recorded grades. All records of the prior grade then disappeared from the district’s central data system, according to school site administrators, making it difficult to track such remediation in order to be fully accountable.
This year, graduates had to earn D’s or better in a college-prep sequence known as A-G that includes Algebra II, two years of foreign language and a year of a college-preparatory elective such as geography or statistics, reports the Times.
“We know 100% of all kids can graduate fully passing the A to G,” said Steve Zimmer, the school board president. (State universities don’t accept grades lower than C in A-G courses.)
Even before the credit-recovery push, many Los Angeles Unified graduates found themselves in remedial classes in college, Noguera pointed out.
College for all is a mistake, writes Walt Gardner, who taught in Los Angeles Unified for 28 years. Many of his former students “who gained skills through high school vocational courses or through certificate programs in community colleges are steadily making a good living working with their hands,” he writes. “In contrast, some former students with a bachelor’s degree have been underemployed for protracted periods of time, all the while struggling to pay off their student debt.”
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