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Education in San Diego: Why we should stick with “A through G”

June 5, 2013

A couple days ago I did a post about possible reasons to change our system (here).  Now I want to offer some of the successes that suggest maybe we are already doing this thing right.  Some of the information below may surprise you.  As we get ready for Thursday’s Craft Beer Debate with some very accomplished panelists it’s time to have a better look at what San Diego has been doing.  If you are here for the first time and want to know what the Craft Beer Debates are, click here.  For the rest, let’s get started.

One of the best IT Department companies in San Diego

One of the best IT  companies in San Diego

I included this seemingly out of place logo for two reasons.  One, because the owners very quietly support many aspects of education and never ask for any recognition.  Two, because they were willing to help sponsor this effort at bottom up civic engagement and really asked for nothing at all in return (not even the use of this logo).  Very solid, very community-minded owners.

Before I discuss San Diego Unified information, I need to share this really important summary of a report on education in San Diego from the United Way of San Diego.  It is only 20 pages and includes several facts and figures that can really improve everyone’s understanding of the core educational issues our kids face.  I don’t have the time to break it all down right this minute, but it is very worth a read.  Spoiler alert: Getting kids to read at grade level by the third grade is kind of the Holy Grail of education.

I also reached out to one local education professional who directed me to the Education Trust-West. The link explains the basics of the organization, but I think part of the real value is to be able to look at actual research about college and career readiness, including the “A through G” measure that will be discussed at the debate.  Here’s a link for more specific information on that site.

One last thing before I provide a presentation that explains why we may want to stick with our current system in San Diego.  This link allows you to look at specific districts and how they’re doing on a number of factors, including college prep (in part defined by, you guessed it, “A through G”)

What about San Diego Unified School District?

Education, and nurturing successful young people, doesn’t stop at the generally arbitrary city boundaries.  But I just don’t have the time to dig into all 19 cities in the county, so here’s a look at how the biggest one is fairing.  As I said above, you might be a bit surprised.  Now, there are 46 slides in this presentation, but if you take the time to scroll through them I’ve added in some useful tidbits and maybe even a little humor.

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Wondering what you have to do to win the Broad Prize?

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Free and reduced-price lunch are based on income qualifications.  Generally, the poorer your family is the more likely you are to need meeting basic nutrition needs.  Here’s an interesting article describing effects of poverty.

What is the GATE program, anyway? Click here.

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This one I highlighted only because of the reference to “open and accessible data.”  This is so important for people who want to pay attention and hold our elected officials, teachers and administrators accountable for their decisions.  I wish many cities put real open and accessible data (meaning you could actually use it, not just that it was sitting on a computer some place) more seriously.

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The Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) is a resource for parents who want to get involved.  Tell your friends!

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Honestly, am I the only one who ever wondered how you can have a “drop out” rate of 6.2% and a “graduation” rate of 86.9%?  What on earth happened to the other 7% of students?  If I find the answer I’ll post it.  Always seemed strange to me.  Still, the bigger point here is that SDUSD is actually doing better than most big districts in the State and better than it has done in recent years.  Obviously this may not be the right comparison.  Maybe we should be comparing student performance against the colleges they try to get into.  Or against the jobs that they try to take.  I don’t have the answer to that part, but at least this is another source of information to make some decisions and think about what San Diego Unified is doing based on real data and not potentially inaccurate word of mouth.

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From → Education

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