D’s and F’s spiked during LBUSD’s campus closures, new numbers show

The first-semester grades for the Long Beach Unified School District have been finalized, and despite improvement from where they were mid-semester, they still show a significant spike in failing grades.

In all, 26.88% of grades issued were D’s and F’s during fall 2020, which was the first semester LBUSD issued grades since campuses closed. That’s almost double the failure rate compared to the previous year where 14.23% of grades were D’s or F’s.

The picture had looked even more dire mid-semester when the district reported 31.75% of all grades issued were D’s and F’s. The finalized numbers for the entire semester shows some improvement from that benchmark.

“Like other school districts, we have seen some increase in D’s and F’s compared to the prior year,” LBUSD spokesperson Chris Eftychiou said in January when the district released the early numbers. “We’re also seeing some improvement in that regard since the quarter ended.”

Despite the improvement, the D/F rate almost doubled from last year to this year and the number of A, B and C grades dropped.

This school year’s second semester is already underway, but grades and continued struggles with digital learning—from internet issues to emotional ones—are a part of why many parents in the city have been pushing the LBUSD to reopen campuses as soon as the state allows.

Late Monday, health officials said coronavirus cases had subsided enough to reopen elementary schools for in-person classes under the state guidelines. For months, the LBUSD has said it plans to start reopening campuses on March 1, but the teacher’s union has been resistant to that idea, saying it’s reckless until teachers are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Grades and reopening plans will be among the myriad issues discussed at Wednesday evening’s LBUSD Board of Education meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. and can be live streamed here.

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