Cecilia Lopez, an Oakland High School senior who served as a student director on the school board this year, finished her term with a bang tonight during a discussion about stiffer graduation requirements and access to courses required for admission to state universities (known as A-G classes).
Lopez piped up after Jim Mordecai, a retired teacher and school board meeting regular, told the board that such a change would backfire — and that huge numbers of students, unable or unwilling to handle these new district requirements, would defect to independently run charter schools.
“Keep dreaming,” Mordecai said.
Lopez had this to say to the naysayers (“I have heard rumors of teachers not being for this,” she said):
“We are an economically challenged urban community. … If you’re saying that the classes are going to be too hard, that means you don’t believe. That means you’re saying that students are so dumb, they won’t do it. …
We’re not asking for more counselors, we’re asking for a counseling system. It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality. …
I had to take pre-algebra (in high school). That was a waste of my year. I could have been done with pre-calculus my junior year if I didn’t have to take that class. …
If we have A-G, it’s not whether we can do it or not, it’s whether the adults are willing to support us.”
The board adopted the resolution, which moves the district toward an A-G for all requirement for those entering ninth grade in 2011. You can read it here.
RESOURCES: You can see the difference between current high school graduation requirements and the A-G courses required to be eligible for state universities here, and the teen-friendly handout designed for English learners here.