Five San Diego County schools were listed among California’s persistently lowest achieving schools today. Under a new push for school reform from the federal government and President Obama, the chosen schools must take some drastic steps, such as replacing their principal and at least half of their staff, reopening as a charter school, shutting down or increasing instructional time.

Schools will have several different options for restructuring — most of them deeply controversial. But getting on the list also has an upside: Struggling schools are eligible for special grants to help them improve. Forcing faltering schools to make more dramatic changes is a hallmark of the Obama Administration’s approach to school reform, and a marked shift from No Child Left Behind, which gave schools wide latitude to decide how they would adjust their own programs.

The selected schools are Burbank Elementary (San Diego Unified), Felicita Elementary (Escondido Union Elementary), King/Chavez Arts Academy (a charter school) and two of the schools-within-the-schools at San Diego High School — the School of Business and MVP Arts. State officials chose the schools based on test scores and graduation rates. There are 188 schools on the list statewide.

But the schools must be approved by the State Board of Education and the federal government before the list becomes final. And it isn’t clear when, exactly, those big changes need to happen at the schools.

You can find the full list of schools here.


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