Teens are much more likely to get the classes they need to apply to the University of California or California State schools at some San Diego Unified high schools than others, a new analysis shows.

And those lucky schools aren’t usually the ones with lots of poor students and kids who are learning English.

That isn’t shocking news.

But the new report provides more details on a known problem: Public universities in California require a certain set of classes before high schoolers can even apply, but students often fail to finish them, limiting their options when they graduate. Some schools offer a wider range of the needed classes than others.

The Education Consortium, a partnership between dozens of local organizations that seek to help disadvantaged students, analyzed the 2008-2009 class schedules for different San Diego high schools to see how many courses met the college eligibility requirements.

Researchers found:

  • Schools where teens were more likely to meet the college requirements had, on average, fewer poor students (52 percent on average versus 89 percent), fewer English learners (11 percent versus 35 percent) and a higher percentage of the needed classes in their schedules (86 percent on average compared to 71 percent) than the schools where fewer graduates met the bar.
  • But some schools broke that mold, which could provide an example for other disadvantaged schools: Kearny Construction Tech Academy has a high percentage of disadvantaged students, for instance, but its students have the third highest rate of finishing up the required classes in San Diego Unified.

The Education Consortium recommended that San Diego Unified:

  • Inform parents and eighth graders more clearly about the college eligibility requirements.
  • Incorporate more of the needed classes into school schedules and label them
  • Automatically enroll high school freshmen in at least four of the necessary classes unless they have a disability that makes that impossible.
  • Better help students monitor their progress toward finishing the needed classes, among other reforms.

Curious to see how your school stacked up? You can read the full report here.


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