Howard Blume reports in today's L.A. Times that the Los Angeles Unified School District has begun mailing one-page report cards to parents on the performances of district schools. Those issued for L.A. high schools provide a ruder awakening than any home-room bell. Blume notes that while previous assessments tended to come with many gold stars and smiley faces attached, the new grades are far more realistic -- and depressing.
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In Manual Arts High, for example, a scant three percent of the student body is proficient in math, while only 37 percent of school seniors graduated last year. Blume notes that this last figure is half of the rosy statistic previously crunched by the state -- and far worse than the malarially optimistic (and false) data of a decade ago, which had 80 percent of MAHS grads enrolling in college. The report cards, which do not award simple cumulative letter grades to schools, go out to school families today.