A closer look at data from individual high schools reveals a trend that might seem contradictory at first glance: Schools whose graduation rates are rising are simultaneously losing a significant number of students to charter schools and schools in other parts of town.

When students’ stellar test scores are called into question in the 1988 movie “Stand and Deliver,” actor Edward James Olmos, playing a real-life high school math teacher whose success story the movie is based on, calls out the racial motivations behind the investigation. “Those scores would have never been questioned if my kids did not have Spanish surnames […]

The state confirmed Tuesday that 91 percent of San Diego Unified’s class of 2016 graduated. But that number doesn’t show all the factors that came together to make the rate possible – whether it was allowing certain students to test out of requirements or losing low-performing students to charter schools.

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.

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.

On this week’s podcast, Andrea Guerrero, executive director at Alliance San Diego, a social justice organization, joined co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to talk about education inequity across San Diego Unified and how her organization pushes the district to raise expectations for more students.

Longtime SDSU education professor Alberto Ochoa says California schools often don’t place enough value in students’ cultural heritage: “When you ask a child to leave his or her background at the door, you humiliate the child.”