San Francisco to require college prep work to graduate, including foreign language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Dec 11 14:16:48 UTC 2008

S.F. to require college prep work to graduate
Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

(12-09) 21:41 PST San Francisco -- Attention all San Francisco
seventh-graders: Study hard now because high school is going to be a
lot harder by the time you get there. The city's school board voted
Tuesday night to require students starting with the class of 2014 to
pass 15 college preparatory courses  in order to graduate. The new
policy puts every child on the college track, ensuring teenagers take
the so-called A-G courses needed to get into the University of
California or California State University.

District Superintendent Carlos Garcia proposed the policy, saying it's
imperative students leave school with every door open and every option
available to them. Going to college "should be a student's choice, not
a failure on our part to prepare our students," Garcia said when the
policy was first proposed two weeks ago. Only a handful of California
districts have approved similar policies, and most are still working
on implementation. San Jose Unified is the only urban district where
the requirement is in place for current graduates.

San Francisco district officials will now develop an implementation
plan, which the school board expects to consider later in the school
year. Implementation will require the district to offer more science
labs and hire more foreign language teachers and advanced math
teachers, increase student remediation and more. They'll also have to
figure out where the money will come from to fund it all. The board
Tuesday also approved a policy to open up advanced placement and
honors courses to any student who wants to enroll. Currently, each
high school has a different system for determining who is placed in
those classes.

In a third related vote, the board gave the go-ahead to officials to
create new ways for students to earn course credit, including online
courses, independent study and life experience, among others.  All of
that would also require more time and money, but district officials
say it will be worth it. "The way our system is now, if you're failing
in Algebra I during the fall semester, you will have to wait until
next year to take the course over and make up the coursework," said
Margaret Chiu, assistant superintendent of high schools. "By creating
greater flexibility in programming, we can help students catch up in a
timely manner and prevent more students from dropping out."
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