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Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…


Without Rules, Credit Recovery Is Just an ‘Easy Ticket to Graduation,’ Report Says

AEI Study: Credit Recovery – Second Chance or Second Track

Quote from Article:

Too many districts that use a lot of credit recovery to help students to finish high school don’t impose the right rules to ensure that those catch-up courses are high quality, according to a report published Thursday.

The study, by American Enterprise Institute researcher Nat Malkus, urges school districts to closely examine their rules and practices for credit recovery. Questions about these courses are relevant to tens of thousands of schools and millions of students, since most U.S. high schools offer them as a way for students to bounce back from a bad grade or earn credit for failed classes.

Malkus and his team interviewed leaders in about 200 districts that had large shares of students in credit recovery last spring, and found that many have put a priority on flexibility and access for students. But most haven’t built in safeguards to make sure the courses are good.


About half of the districts let students replace their original bad grade with a better grade from credit recovery, another policy aimed at giving students another chance to improve. Six in 10 districts let students skip the coursework if they pass a “pre-test.”


‘Too Easy for Students’

Nearly 7 in 10 of the districts don’t impose seat-time requirements, meaning that students can earn credit in a fraction of the time their peers spend in regular classes. One district official told the research team: “It’s too easy for students. … They can finish a semester in about two weeks.” 

Eighty-three percent of the districts that use credit recovery heavily don’t use their own tests to see if students mastered the material. Instead, they accept the tests embedded in the credit-recovery programs they use. Whether “passing” constitutes as rigorous a level of mastery as passing the school’s own tests is an open question.

“Taken individually, these policies could be justifiable for certain districts’ circumstances and needs,” the report said. “Taken together, however, the pattern of highly expansive and flexible district policies offers little comfort about the rigor of credit recovery.


The study is the latest in a flurry that aim to elucidate the murky turf of credit recovery in the wake of a series of scandals that allowed many students to use these catch-up classes to get diplomas without earning them.

Last year, Malkus wrote a report that suggested that schools can boost their graduation rates—which they are judged on in public accountability reports—by enrolling a lot of students in credit recovery. Another study, earlier this year, showed schools increasingly relying on online credit recovery to improve their graduation rates.

The pressure to improve graduation rates, and role credit recovery plays in that, came through in the new AEI report. One of the district officials interviewed by the AEI team said: “Since No Child Left Behind and [the push for] ‘100 percent graduation rate,’ we are caught between seeing that students graduate or really learn the material.”

Graduating without having mastered coursework is likely to backfire on students later, though, and it’s more likely to affect the neediest students. Studies from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and AEI have both found that high-poverty, high-minority schools are the ones most likely to have large shares of students in credit-recovery classes.

District Deeds Synopsis:

As we have shown in numerous posts about the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD} Diploma Mill Scam on District Deeds (i.e.: REALLY RICHARD?!? Exposing Ridiculous SDUSD Trustee President Barrera Grad Rate Con Job! and The San Diego Unified Supt. Cindy Marten 2015/16 DIPLOMA MILL SCAM – Marten Unethical Opportunism Exposed!!!), the abuses described by this study are rampant under incompetent and corrupt Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten and Board of Education Trustee “Tricky Dick” Barrera.

The desperate quest for increased graduation rates at any cost at the expense of REAL education is evident by the disparity between Black and Hispanic Students compared to White White Students according to a San Diego Union Tribune article quote from an anonymous SDUSD source:

There are significant performance gaps between black and Hispanic students and white students, as well as between students from low-income families and students from higher-income families, the district noted. Gaps also exist for students with disabilities and English learner students.

“Since 2003, there has been no evidence of gap closure between these groups and, in fact, some of the gaps have widened significantly,” especially between low-income and higher-income students, district officials wrote in an analysis of its scores.

So, like usual in the “White Woman Mafia” ESS Marten SDUSD and despite propaganda to the contrary, the manipulated “improved” graduation rates are not backed up by any test data that proves progress has been made for the neediest students in the neediest schools.

Until the corrupt Marten and Barrera educational disaster is remedied by their removal from office, the neediest students best option is to look for educational options outside of the SDUSD.

Democrats Dodge a Charter Question — and for a Reason

Quote from Article:

It took until the third hour of the third Democratic presidential debate—the first of the 2020 cycle to gather all top-tier candidates on the same stage—for education policy to make an appearance. What ensued over the next 14 minutes in response to ABC correspondent Linsey Davis’s query about charter schools was a remarkable exercise in dodging the question.

Why were the candidates reluctant even to discuss one of the cornerstones of the last Democratic president’s education agenda? Results from 2019 Education Next survey, reported in this issue, provide a likely explanation.

Davis directed her question to entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Yang, as Davis reminded him, had once said that Democrats seeking to limit the growth of charter schools are “jumping into bed with teachers’ unions and doing kids a disservice.” Yet Yang did not mention charter schools in his response.


That Democratic candidates would rush at any chance to call for paying teachers more is no surprise. Our survey confirms that it is an issue that at once unites their base and has crossover appeal. Seventy two percent of Americans express support for increasing teacher pay in their state, including an overwhelming 83 percent of Democrats and fully 60 percent of Republicans. The conversation also served as an opportunity to curry favor with the teacher unions, which remain among the most potent forces in Democratic party politics.


Yet if Democrats are turning against charters, why aren’t the candidates leading the charge? Bernie Sanders has in fact called to end public funding for charter growth and a ban on “for-profit” charters. But the more common strategy, as illustrated on the debate stage in September, has been to avoid the topic altogether.

The answer may lie in the breakdown of our survey results within the Democratic Party. It shows that the decline in support for charter schools has been driven entirely by white Democrats. While a plurality of white Democrats supported charters in 2016, they now oppose charters by a 57 percent to 33 percent margin. Black Democrats, in contrast, support charters by a 55 percent to 29 percent margin. The balance of support among Democrats who identify as Hispanic is narrower but still positive, at 47 percent to 42 percent.

In short, while candidates who vocally criticize charter schools may find favor with the white progressive left, they would risk alienating black and Hispanic voters, plenty of whom have seen their communities transformed by the expansion of high-quality charter schools in urban centers. And those voters comprise a large share of the Democratic electorate, especially once the contest moves on from Iowa and New Hampshire into more racially diverse territory. The safer course of action, the candidates seem to have decided, is to remain silent.

District Deeds Synopsis:

Is was interesting to read a quote from the article regarding Andrew Yang indicates that the Democratic party nationally is plagued by the same issue as the 5-0 Democratic SDUSD School Board from Andrew Yang:

Davis directed her question to entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Yang, as Davis reminded him, had once said that Democrats seeking to limit the growth of charter schools are “jumping into bed with teachers’ unions and doing kids a disservice.” Yet Yang did not mention charter schools in his response.

District Deeds believes that Teachers deserve better pay and should be provided all the classroom supplies and supports needed to improve the education of SDUSD Students.  However “jumping in bed” with ALL the demands of Teachers Unions betrays the vast majority of the electorate

The main problem is that the Democratic super majorities in the  San Diego City Council and California State government with elections subsidized by state and local Teacher’s Union contibutions is that it creates a high level of cronyism providing corrupt super majority Democrat school districts like the SDUSD to have their incompetence and corruption to be covered up as long as they rake in money from the local teachers union and pay homage to them in anti-Charter School policies.

Parents deserve the right to have educational choices for their kids that are not controlled by special interests like “for profit” Teachers Unions or “for profit” Charter School companies.

For politicians like the corrupt SDUSD School Board to allow themselves to be bought off by ANY for profit group is unforgiveable.

It’s Not Just Teachers: How Counselor Diversity Matters for Students of Color

Quote from Article:

In a recent study, a high school counselor offered this honest description of the uncertainty of her job: “Maybe later, I’ll start to see kids come back and they’ll be like, oh this helped or that helped,” she said. Still, “Sometimes I leave and I’m like, I’ve done nothing.”

Now, new research captures exactly how much of a difference a counselor like her can make — and it’s substantial, particularly for low-income students.

That study appears to be the first to quantify how individual counselors affect students. Better counselors boost students’ chances of graduating high school and enrolling in and remaining in college, it finds. And students of color do much better when assigned to a counselor of color, seeing their chance of graduating high school jump nearly 4 percentage points.


Mulhern’s research was made possible by a key insight: Students are often assigned to counselors alphabetically by last name. Because alphabetization is essentially random, Mulhern — armed with a massive dataset from the state of Massachusetts — was able to study how more than 500 counselors affected the outcomes of nearly 150,000 students over a number of years.

Her first major finding was that counselors vary in their ability to improve students’ trajectories.

Students who had a counselor of far-above-average quality were 2 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school, 1.5 points more likely to attend college, and 1.4 points more likely to stay in college through their first year.

These effects were even larger for low-income students, students of color, and lower-achieving students. For instance, a very good counselor improved low-income students’ high school graduation rate by 3.4 percentage points and college enrollment by 2.9 points.


Students of color also benefited from having a counselor of color. Their chances of graduating high school and attending college each increased by 3.8 percentage points — an effect even bigger than having an above-average counselor.


Mulhern, for her part, is skeptical that policymakers should rush to implement new evaluations for counselors on the basis of her work.

“There are a lot of things counselors are supposed to be doing that I can’t measure, [like] mental health support,” she said. “I’m not sure that I want these measures to be used in evaluation, but at the same time, I think students can benefit a lot if schools can identify effective counselors. There may be some middle ground where more training is targeted to people who don’t seem to be doing as well as their peers.”


These efforts have generally had modest impacts at best. Mulhern’s research suggests a different tack: improving the quality or quantity of college counselors.

“This can work, and there’s already this huge infrastructure — all of these training programs, this whole profession devoted to this,” she said. “It may be useful to think of this problem from the perspective of individuals who have already been working on it for a long time.”

Mulhern research doesn’t provide clear insight on how to improve counselor effectiveness. But it does suggest — in line with past research — that hiring more counselors could help. She finds that at an average school hiring a new counselor would increase the entire school’s graduation rate by about half a point and college enrollment by nearly a full point. The benefits are even larger for low-performing students.


But for counselors, there are also more things to be done then time to do it. Many described being pressured to take on additional responsibilities, including coordinating standardized testing. In Milwaukee, one counselor is responsible for more than 300 students; in Massachusetts, the ratio is slightly lower.

“Typically in schools you have stuff popping off all day. So, you are responding to crisis,” one counselor told researchers. “I try to have a plan as much as I can … But sometimes you don’t get anything done in your plan.”

District Deeds Synopsis:

This article article and related study about Counselor diversity and effectiveness related to Student succcess was enlightening.  Reflecting back on all of our SDUSD Counselor contacts over the past 20 years verified many of the points made in the article and helped us beter understand the strategies that those Counselors were attempting to deploy…both good and bad.

The support of Counselors in Student success is obvious and we strongly recommend ALL our readers review both the article and the study to enable better understanding of that key role at every school site and the impact on their Students.

Now for our Quote of the Week for all our Counselors:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Have a great week!!!



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Democrats Dodge a Charter Question — and for a Reason



Too few parents talk to their kids about race and identity, report finds



It’s not just teachers: How counselor diversity matters for students of color