After hours of debate and a couple of amendments, the LAUSD school board approved a sweeping plan on Tuesday to reduce credit requirements for graduation. But as part of the reduction, students in the district will need Cs instead of Ds to earn their high school diplomas.
Next year’s high school freshmen will have to take every class required to meet the minimum application standards for the University of California and Cal State systems.
L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy says the new requirements are part of the district’s commitment to advancing civil rights and social justice for "every single student." Deasy spoke with Airtalk host Larry Mantle before Tuesday's vote.
"Simply stated, this recommends that the diploma for all students graduating from LAUSD by 2017 be a meaningful college/workforce ready threshold," Deasy says.
School board members added two amendments to Deasy’s original proposal. One would begin to assess third and eighth graders’ readiness to meet the new standards. Boardmember Steve Zimmer proposed the second – an effort to boost the credits required for graduation from 180 to 210, so that students might still benefit from physical education, art and other course offerings.
"Some of the programs that are working best to engage our students — to keep them connected and in schools — would be in grave danger if we lowered down to 180," Zimmer insists.
Six board members approved the curriculum overhaul.
The lone dissenter was Bennet Kayser, who represents schools from Griffith Park to South Gate. He insisted on establishing a budget before the district spends any money on the new reforms.