Monday, Sept. 21, 2009 | “They are left to community colleges, out-of-state universities and private schools if they chose higher education.” (Quoted from your article.)

I find this to be a very disrespectful statement about community colleges which are very fine institutions designed to send many students on to the UC and CSU system. They not only have a specific role in higher education in California, it is a great system where late bloomers are ALWAYS welcome! Rather than lament the community college option, I believe we should enthusiastically say to students, “You still have this great option that is less costly. It’s not over because you didn’t handle algebra in 8th grade!”

Because so many of the high-flyers drop out of the UC and CSU schools in their first two years, the transfer pathway has been identified which “guarantees enrollment at a UC/CSU” if one completes required classes at the community colleges with a specific grade point. Not mediocre, students at community colleges also have the option of rigorous honors courses. Most, if not all, will have smaller classes than their peers have at the UC/CSUs in their first two years.

When someone I know was at a SDUSD high school, this sort of language about community colleges was rampant. Since that was his chosen path, he finally quit telling his friends that was how he would be beginning college because they had picked up this negative slant about community colleges and said disparaging things.

Lincoln is not to be “blamed”. Low achievement in elementary and middle school (especially when students struggle with algebra) is tough to change at the high school. My sons heard about the UC requirements from the time they were in middle school. But when you are getting Bs and Cs, you begin tuning out because you know they aren’t talking about you. By high school, kids know there are classmates with 4.0 grade point averages who don’t get into the UC of their choice. Why would someone with a 2.0-3.0 even think they are talking about him/her! For SDUSD to use the UC requirements as the basis for graduating will catch a few kids who miss the message. But far more will be those who decide that SDUSD is irrelevant because they know that only 10-15% of students go to the UC system and they aren’t it!

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