San Diego Unified and Grossmont Union are suing to shut down certain charter schools that offer online credit-recovery courses and independent study options, saying they’re illegally operating within their boundaries. Meanwhile, San Diego Unified is expanding its own versions of those programs, hoping to capitalize on the growing market for non-traditional education options and hold onto students who would otherwise leave.
Data provided by five charter schools offers a window into the way San Diego Unified benefited from a system that allows it to unload its lowest-performing students and maintain a graduation rate above 90 percent.
In this week’s San Diego Explained, NBC 7’s Monica Dean and Voice of San Diego’s Mario Koran dig in to the unusually high graduation rates touted by local schools.
Federal officials will audit California and Alabama’s graduation rates. But as we’ve found, even when districts play by the reporting rules, the numbers don’t always tell the whole story.
Last school year, 1,381 seniors – more than 20 percent of San Diego Unified’s class of 2016 – took an online version of a course required for graduation. Roughly 92 percent of them passed.
Last May, San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten announced that 92 percent of the class of 2016 was on track to graduate. Trustees and supporters hailed it as a colossal success. But it turns out the 92 percent number refers only to students who fit a very specific definition. And it excludes thousands who left district schools.