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San Diego Unified is behind schedule in its quest to ensure that all students have access to the requirements of California public colleges.

The district now has a ton of information about why its teen students often fail to meet California public college requirements, but it is still mulling what to do to improve.

The school board met today to go over a report from Education Trust West, a nonprofit and research group that focuses on the achievement gap. The long awaited report, released last week, delved into the reasons that high schoolers fail to take and complete the classes needed to apply to the University of California and California State University system, from poor grades to not taking the right classes. It recommended a slew of possible changes, from eliminating “filler” classes that don’t count toward college requirements to adding programs to bridge middle school to high school.

Last year, the school board had planned to ensure that all students beginning high school this year would take the needed classes and get extra support to help them succeed.

That hasn’t happened. While the school district says it has ensured that freshmen are taking at least three out of the 15 necessary classes this year, it has yet to tackle many other steps that Education Trust West recommends. One reason is that the report itself is tardy. Arun Ramanathan, executive director of the nonprofit, said changes in school district staff set his group back in preparing the report for this year.

School district staff said they didn’t want to spend money on recommended changes, such as adding programs to help middle schoolers transition to high school, until the school board had reviewed the report and given their blessing. The school board first reviewed that report today.

“We need the direction from you,” Sid Salazar, assistant superintendent for instructional support services, told the school board. Salazar said a school district task force would also go over the report to decide what the next steps would be and when they would happen.

School board President Richard Barrera urged Salazar and other district administrators to keep moving towards making the college requirements the norm for students. “Let’s not lose another freshman class coming through,” Barrera said.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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