In an open letter sent to the San Diego One School Board this week, District 4 board member Monica Montgomery called the situation at Lincoln High School a “crisis.”
Montgomery demanded answers to 12 questions, including the school’s latest attendance and graduation figures, and what the school administration is doing to close what it says is an achievement gap for black students.
“We need answers with respect to these achievement gaps, and then we need to come up with real solutions that we invest in to ensure consistency in their achievement,” Montgomery said.
In the four-page letter, Montgomery referred to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v Board of Education, who said segregation in schools was unconstitutional. Today, she says, she notices “familiar disparities that indicate there is much more work to be done regarding equal access to quality education in the city of San Diego.”
“I want the kids in District 4 to have the same education as kids in other districts, other communities, other school sub-districts,” Montgomery said. “This is not happening in Lincoln right now, and because of it, it is preventing us from having a community that we all deserve.”
Montgomery also said she was concerned about a revolving door of leadership at the school.
“We see continuous turnover and in reality that is not the recipe for success, so when that continues to happen it is of concern why, and the district really has not, in my opinion, given us answers that make sense, “Montgomery said.
San Diego Unified School Board vice-chair Sharon Whitehurst-Payne said she was disappointed with the way Montgomery voiced her concerns. Montgomery should examine the achievement gap for black students across the school district and county rather than just focusing on Lincoln High School, Whitehurst-Payne said.
“I’m sorry for the students there, and I’m just so disappointed that now we have lawmakers choosing them to do this instead of saying, ‘How can I roll up my sleeves and help?’ “Whitehurst-Payne said.
Whitehurst-Payne said graduation rates in Lincoln have in fact improved in recent years. In 2020, Lincoln High School’s graduation rate was 84.1%, up from 79.9% in 2019. She also said the school’s new principal, Stephanie Brown, is committed to staying in the school. a leadership role in the school for five years.
“There is an achievement gap that we are closing, and that’s why we focus on ninth grade, that’s why we focus on what’s going on in elementary schools and colleges, and that’s why now we’re saying, ‘Let’s go fix that at the ninth grade level, then move on,’ Whitehurst-Payne said.
Montgomery told NBC 7 that she had heard from the school board and was planning a meeting to discuss her concerns.