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I recently wrote about why so many teens seem to be falling short of the requirements to apply to California State and University of California schools when they graduate from San Diego Unified. The short answer is that there are a lot of factors — trouble passing advanced algebra, low grades, a lack of information — but no one has nailed down the problem for sure.

That could change. Next Tuesday, the school board will consider a $300,000 contract with an outside nonprofit to diagnose what is happening. The agreement would bring in Education Trust West, a nonprofit that strongly backs the push for college readiness, for 15 months to audit student transcripts and schedules, meet with families and educators and develop a plan for making college plans a reality.

Education Trust West is led by Linda Murray, who formerly led the San Jose schools where the college standards are the norm for high school graduates. The school district is often cited as an example because it boosted its graduation requirements without suffering more dropouts.

EMILY ALPERT

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