Editorial: Commitment to students

The outlook two years from graduation could not be worse.

A-G courses are important for the future of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), paving the way for them to be able to continue their studies at college. The outlook for the class of 2017 is grim, so now is the time to reaffirm the principles under which the curriculum to help the students with the greatest difficulties was created.

In 2005, a curriculum was created to resolve the disparity throughout the LAUSD in access to college preparatory courses. Four years of English and three years of math—including algebra and geometry—were established as requirements, in which students need at least a C to pass. The class of 2017, which entered school the year this curriculum was created, would be the first under this new standard.

The outlook two years from graduation could not be worse. In these 12 years, the nation, and California in particular, suffered through the Great Recession with its deep cuts that eliminated teachers and school counselors, damaging the structure that supports students’ academic success. This complicated the situation for the most vulnerable students, precisely those the A-G curriculumaims to help. Now it is estimated that only 37% of graduates in 2017 will have completed these courses with at least a C. This translates into 26% of Latino students and only 3% of English learners.

This has led some LAUSD authorities to reconsider continuation of the plan or change the requirements to make them less demanding. These are easy solutions that betray the principle of closing the disparities in academic opportunities through preparation and knowledge.

For that reason, it is important that on Tuesday, the Board of Education approve the A-G Equity measure, sponsored by Mónica García. The measure reaffirms the commitment to students by creating a support network, expanding opportunities to take the courses, and devoting new state funds to this purpose, among other provisions.

Reaffirming the original idea underlying the A-G curriculum, with the resources to overcome the obstacles, sends a powerful message. It will tell parents, teachers and students about the LAUSD’s commitment to ensuring that its students graduate with the knowledge they need to progress in the future.