Some students were assigned to “work experience” or “service” classes that required picking up trash, running errands — or nothing at all. Others were sent home early. To settle a class-action lawsuit, six high schools in Oakland, Los Angeles and Compton have agreed to end “fake classes” with no academic content, reports the Contra Costa Times.
One of the plaintiffs, Johnae Twinn, hopes for a career in medicine. As a senior at Oakland’s Castlemont High last year, she tried to sign up for physiology and debate. Both were canceled. Instead, she was given two “home” classes — that is, no class. Another class period was spent sitting in the library. That was called “Inside Work Experience,” though she received few assignments.
Twinn is struggling in college because of her weak academic preparation, said Kathryn Eidmann, a staff attorney for Public Counsel.
Already behind, low-income students were cheated of instructional time, Eidman told Peg Tyre in an interview. “Jessy Cruz, a named plaintiff in the suit, was a foster kid who was not on track to graduate. He was assigned to three contentless courses. He was not able to graduate. He has not gotten his GRE. He has not gotten a job.”
Eric Flood, another plaintiff, was assigned to three service classes one semester at Oakland’s Fremont High. He had to take online credit-recovery classes after school.
At Jefferson High in Los Angeles, Jason Magaña was placed in graphics, a class he’d already taken and passed, and given two “home” periods. He couldn’t get into economics, which he needed to graduate.