In 2008, San Francisco’s Board of Education approved new requirements for high school graduation in order to ensure students in San Francisco were prepared to enter college. These new benchmarks, known as “A-G requirements,” mirror the entrance criteria of the California State University and University of California systems – the A-G refers to the labeling used by the University of California to identify seven core subject areas for math and second languages, among other subjects. The standards were implemented in 2010, when today’s juniors entered high school, and these juniors are the first class who will graduate with these new requirements.
This change was necessary in order to ensure that San Francisco students are competitive for college entrance; but it has had an unexpected consequence – almost half of students in the class of 2014 are not on track to graduation – the majority of these students are Latino and African American. In particular, only 32% of Latino students and 26% of African American students are on track to graduation next year, meaning that 68% of Latino students and 74% of African American students are at risk of not graduating on time unless significant academic interventions are immediately provided. And that is only for San Francisco graduation – allowing a D or better. If we use C or better (as colleges would), we are looking at only 17% of Latino students and 11% of African American students who are eligible for a 4-year university in California.
This increase in graduation requirements has come at a time when budget and program cuts, including cuts to summer and after-school programs, severely limited some students’ ability to make up courses they may have failed or not had an opportunity to take. While it is crucial to ensure that our students can enter 4 year universities, it is imperative that these additional graduation requirements are combined with expanding the academic services and supports our high school students receive. These services include providing academic support during the school day, expanding the school day, and providing night class, summer school classes, and on-line classes.
Mission Graduates has joined with numerous other educators and non-profits to ensure additional academic resources for our high school students. Currently we have been advocating with the mayor and Board of Supervisors to allocate $2.2 million to provide these additional courses and credit-recovery programs. Please join with us, and let our Supervisors and Mayor know that we must provide more academic resources to our students, or we are at risk of truly failing them.
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner