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Statement: “Fifty-eight percent of Latino students in San Diego Unified aren’t reading at grade level,” mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher wrote in an editorial published by U-T San Diego on Feb. 25.

Determination: True

Analysis: In editorials recently published by U-T San Diego, each of the city’s high-profile candidates for mayor outlined their ideas to improve schools. Education hasn’t been a major issue under Mayor Jerry Sanders, but it’s become a constant theme of debate surrounding his successor.

In January, for example, Bonnie Dumanis pushed for a step toward mayoral control of the San Diego Unified School District. The district is now governed by five elected board members. She proposed adding four members appointed by the mayor.

In her editorial, Dumanis argued the city’s next mayor should play a more active role and help the school district resolve its financial challenges. However, Nathan Fletcher said the city should become more involved for another reason. He wrote:

Education isn’t just an economic issue; it is also a moral issue. Fifty-eight percent of Latino students in San Diego Unified aren’t reading at grade level. This is unacceptable. We must make sure we give every child access to the American dream.

We decided to Fact Check Fletcher’s description of test scores because it’s a big number about a major issue in the election.

The graphic below illustrates English test scores for the past five years across different racial and ethnic groups at San Diego Unified. Last year, about 56 percent of Latino students tested below their grade level so Fletcher’s statement comes pretty close to the mark.

The graphic also shows how scores improved in the last five years but the achievement gap is almost the same. Nearly 40 percentage points separated white and Latino students five years ago and 36 percentage points separated them last year.

Since Fletcher’s statement comes pretty close to matching Latino students’ test scores, we’ve rated it True. If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

Correction: A previous version of this story included a graphic that incorrectly labeled several categories. We’ve uploaded a new graphic to accurately reflect the data. We regret the error.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about local government, creates infographics and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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