The San Diego City Council will hold a Sept. 18 joint meeting with the board of the San Diego Unified School District to take suggestions on ways to improve campuses, two councilmen said Wednesday.
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The joint meeting will begin at 6 p.m. that Tuesday at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center at 404 Euclid Ave., according to City Council President Tony Young and Councilman Carl DeMaio, a mayoral candidate.
"Every student in San Diego deserves a quality education, and we can help improve our schools with constructive input from teachers, parents, and the community," Young said. "We want to hear from educators, business leaders and the general public on the best ways to improve schools and better prepare all of our students for the jobs and careers of the 21st century."
Young and DeMaio cited a study that showed disparities in grades among council districts.
"On average, the study showed that 30 percent of schools in San Diego are underperforming but, in some City Council districts, the number is as high as 75 percent," DeMaio said. "I know our teachers and administrators are facing enormous challenges, but I also know that San Diegans can help meet those challenges through honest and open dialogue on how to improve our schools."
"If schools are underperforming, if students are not coming out of certain schools to either go to college or to work, then it is a city wide issue," Young said.
"We're not here to play the blame game," DeMaio said. "We're here to say that if we fail in the classroom, then it has an impact on crime and violence in our neighborhoods."
The report by the Center of Education Policy and Law at the University of San Diego shows that 75 percent of SDUSD schools in District 8, which covers Barrio Logan, are underperforming -- based on standardized test scores.
In District 3, which includes North Park and City Heights, 42 percent of the schools were said to be underperforming.
But in District 1, which includes La Jolla and University City, standardized test scores were good enough that none of the schools was termed underperforming.
In District 5 -- which covers Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch and is represented by DeMaio -- 6 percent of schools were categorized as "underperforming."
Some of the council areas include schools in other districts.
"The board and Superintendent (Bill Kowba) look forward to continuing to work constructively with the mayor, City Council and staff of the city of San Diego," said the school district's Jack Brandais. "We already partner on a great many projects, including the 'Live Homework Help' programs through city libraries throughout the city, and the ongoing 'Summer Fun Café' program at city parks, which provides free lunch to kids in low-income area."
"We've known the basic data for a long time, but others and myself felt we need more voices in education," said Scott Himelstein, who authored the study.
The joint meeting between the two panels will be the second one in the past year, he said.
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