August 22, 2018 CUSD BOT Meeting Agenda Item #13 RETROACTIVE GRADE WEIGHTING FOR ACCELERATED VERSION OF WORLD HISTORY BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY

Board Agenda page 389

Board Audio

THIS ITEM WAS PULLED BY TRUSTEE MARTHA McNICHOLAS

CUSDWatch Comment

THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN UP-DATED FOR GREATER CLARITY AND TO ADD SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION August 18, 2018

In 2015 a total of 804 students enrolled in, and took an accelerated version of Biology, Chemistry and World History as freshmen under the impression that these classes would be changed to "Honors" designated classes which would provide them with a 1 point bump in their GPA.

The courses were approved as "Honors Courses" on May 13, 2018 with first discussions on March 25, 2015:

ATMS Biology

ATMS Chemistry

World Hist/Geo/Cultures Accelerated

IDEA Biology

IDEA Chemistry

IDEA World His/Geo/Cultures

Source: May 13, 2015 CUSD BOT Meeting Agenda Item #28 Broadening the Course of Study - New Secondary Courses at page 49

Board Audio at 9:56 

This Item was on the Consent Calendar.

Trustee McNicholas pulled Item #28 to Clarify that this would give a grade bump to the following classes: 

The Board Board Approved Honors Designations for the following 9th Grade classes.

Honors English I 

Honors Biology

Honors World History

Honors Algebra II

Honors Algebra II/Trig

The Item passed 7-0 to designate these classes as "Honors" and provide a one point bump in GPA.

A bump in GPA would have increased each students over all GPA which would have provided them with greater college admission opportunities and increased their ability to compete for college scholarships.

Every California school district is required to submit all high school classes to UC Doorways. In order for the UC and CSU system to recognize a class as an "Honors" class worthy of a grade bump for admission into a UC or CSU, the class must be approved as an "Honors" class in UC Doorways to get the point bump.

In 2015 CUSD submitted these classes to UC Doorways so that students taking these classes would receive the grade bump they were entitled to for taking a more rigorous class.

Unfortunately, the UC and CSU systems do not recognize "Honors" or "Accelerated" classes taken by Freshmen students when calculating GPA for admissions. So even though these 804 students did the work, they did not receive a bump in GPA for admissions into the UC or CSU.

Local school districts can set Board Policy that would provide a bump in GPA for any student who takes an Honors Class as a Freshman which many colleges and universities will recognize. As such, it is important for CUSD to provide all students who took these Honors classes while in 9th grade with a bump in GPA.

CUSD required the freshmen students who took these classes in 9th grade to meet certain academic criteria set by CUSD. Freshman taking these classes were CUSDs' highest achieving students (GATE identified and/or on an accelerated path). Accelerated students were required to have 4 semesters of straight "A"s in their prerequisite class to take these honor's classes as a Freshman.In 2015 when CUSD submitted these classes to UC doorways for approval they failed to set Board policy that would recognize a CUSD bump in GPA to freshmen taking these classes. Those students who took these classes as a 9th grader did not receive the appropriate GPA bump.

This Item seeks to cure that issue and give these 804 students (now seniors) the bump in GPA they are entitled to.    

CUSDWatch: Attention CUSD Students who took Honors Classes during the 2015-16 School Year: Check Your Transcripts!

CUSDWatch: Lack of Honors Classes Puts CUSD Students at a Disadvantage for College Admission

CALL TO ACTION

These 804 Students should show up at the August 22, 2018 Board meeting and/or email Trustees so that ALL CUSD students will get equal credit for the work they do, and have equal opportunity to improve their GPA for college admission and scholarships based on the extra work they did.

Students and Parents should advocate for equal opportunity for all students to succeed and for CUSD to provide every advantage to its students so that they can compete with their peers around the world for college admission and merit money.

This item should be passed so that students get the grade bump that they earned by taking a more rigorous class.

CUSD eliminated CCP as a graduation requirement. They should eliminate Health as a graduation requirement. A-G completion rates would improve dramatically AND CUSD would not be forced to teach the controversial sex ed in all grades.


Of Note: 

In 2010- 12 the State of California made the decision to model California's public education system after the Canadian model of education (see Michael Fullan)

See EdSource: California looks to Ontario schools' reformer for guidance

The new model believed that class size and differentiated learning were not as important as the quality of the staff. California placed great emphasis on professional development rather than class size and differentiated learning for students.

As a result of budget cuts, and the movement to implement Common Core and follow Canada, CUSD has systematically been dismantling accelerated programs for high achieving students, as well as mainstreaming many special needs students. CUSD began to eliminate Accelerated/Honors Classes and the GATE program, and began holding students back in math in an effort to have one level of student. Despite State Policy, other local Districts have made greater efforts to continue to provide their high achieving students with competitive advantages in the college admission process. 

It should also be noted that the new, very controversial Sex Education curriculum originated in Canada.