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School Board Rejects a Plan for Failing Eighth Graders

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Aired 4/19/09

 

The San Diego Unified school board shot down a plan Tuesday that would have made failing eighth grade students go to a special school. 

 

The district adopted a policy not too long ago that states students must be academically prepared before they move on to high school.

 

The problem is school board members and district officials can't agree on what to do with eighth graders who are still failing classes even after attending summer school.

 

District officials want to send the students to a campus miles away from most neighborhoods for special instruction. Kids would have to find their own way to get there. School trustee John De Beck says that's not going to happen.

 

De Beck: So now they're going to have to leave their home area, they're going to have to get on the bus, pay the fees, a couple of bucks a day just to go there...they're not going to be there.

 

De Beck feels every middle school should its own intervention program. He and the other trustees want students to be held back another year at their neighborhood school while getting that intense instruction. 

 

Trustee Sheila Jackson says making kids go to a different campus also sends the wrong message. 

 

De Beck: If you stigmatize children, its going to increase the dropout rate. The other thing is that it's a new school for 80 students.

 

And 80 students, Jackson says, is not enough to justify the school's price tag -- which could the district up to one million dollars. School board members want district officials to come back with an alternative.

 

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

 

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