LAUSD Votes to Lower College Prep Grade Requirements

The Los Angeles Unified Schoool District Board voted unanimously Tuesday to lower the grade requirements for many of its college prep classes, a controversial move that opponents said will keep students from reaching the high standards needed for college.

Students and parents rallied outside LAUSD headquarters earlier Tuesday as the school board prepared to vote on the controversial resolution that called for changes in graduation requirements.

"We want to stop graduating them with nothing in their head," said parent Brenda Hearn.

The group turned out to show their support for the continuation of LAUSD's policy, which calls for all students to pass college prep courses, known as A-G classes, with a C grade or better in order to graduate from high school.

"We believe in equity so we want everybody to have the same education no matter where you're at," said student Jathan Melendez.

The policy was adopted 10 years ago as a way to close the achievement gap, and supporters say additional resources would help students succeed in the classes.

It's scheduled to take effect with the class of 2017, but with only 37 percent of that class on track to pass, school board member Monica Garcia introduced the resolution eliminating the requirement for a C grade or better in all A-G courses.

"It's important for the kids to have A-G requirements because it not only helps them get through school but get through life," parent Hearn said.

Garcia's resolution also called for the superintendent to study why students aren't passing the A-G courses and for more funding for programs to help them pass.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines now has three months to present a plan to help students pass those courses. Additional funding has been set aside to target those success rates.

"If A-G is required for everybody that means we'll have the classes we need to go to college but we need resources to pass those classes and if we don't have the funding for resources, how are we supposed to pass classes offered to us?" Melendez said.

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