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Fact Check: What’s Missing at Schools South of Interstate 8

 

Image: Mostly TrueStatement: “We don’t have an [International Baccalaureate] program at any high school south of (Interstate 8) — San Diego High has one there, but other than that, the rest of that area, there is none,” San Diego Unified school board member Shelia Jackson said at a meeting Nov. 10.

Determination: Mostly True

Analysis: Last week, the school board had a heated debate [1] about whether to focus more federal money for disadvantaged students on schools with the very highest levels of poverty. The board has waffled on whether to keep spreading roughly $21 million across all schools where at least 40 percent of students are poor or concentrate it in fewer schools with the highest poverty rates.

The highest poverty schools sit south of Interstate 8. During the discussion, board member Shelia Jackson, who represents that area, argued that those neighborhood schools lack desirable programs to keep students from leaving. Those schools could have more programs if they got more of the federal funds, Jackson argued.

As an example, Jackson said San Diego High was the only high school in the area with an International Baccalaureate program, a rigorous brand of instruction. Students can earn a special diploma that is seen by colleges as a sign of challenging lessons and critical thinking.

Jackson is right. San Diego High is the sole International Baccalaureate high school south of the freeway. But she could have made the same statement about schools north of it. There are only two International Baccalaureate programs in San Diego Unified high schools: One at San Diego High and another at Mission Bay High School, north of Interstate 8. Many of the middle and elementary schools that feed into them also have the program.

While Jackson’s statement is accurate, we’ve dubbed it Mostly True because it lacked an important nuance. Jackson strongly implied that her statement was an example of an imbalance between schools north and south of Interstate 8, which it isn’t.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

You can also e-mail new Fact Check suggestions to factcheck@voiceofsandiego.org [2]. What claim should we explore next?

Emily Alpert is the education reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. What should she write about next? Please contact her directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org [3].

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