San Diego

Gompers Charter School Responds to Accusations of Grade Inflation

"I assure you that there has been no falsification of grades at Gompers," wrote Board Chairman Cecil Steppe, in a letter to parents.

A recent report has accused the Gompers Preparatory Academy of inflating students' grades and failing to truly prepare them for four-year colleges.

Once a traditional school plagued by inner city problems, Gompers Charter School broke from the San Diego Unified School District and was founded in 2009 with hopes of changing the culture of education.

The school has frequently been hailed as one of San Diego's biggest educational success stories, with anywhere from 80 to 99 percent of graduating seniors attending four-year colleges, according to the school.

But now questions are being raised about its grading system.

NBC 7 spoke with Brad Racino, the iNewSource reporter who first broke the story.

"On the record and on background, we've had more than 25 teachers and students come forward," said Racino. "What it's doing is setting these kids up for failure when they get into college. They step foot on college and they're not ready."

Although the students are frequently getting A's and going on to attend college, there's concern that they are not performing successfully at college once admitted.

Racino discovered underwhelming SAT, ACT scores and Standardized Test scores that ranged towards the bottom of California' grading curve.

According to Gompers' data on its 2014 class of graduates, nearly 60 percent of those graduates went onto a second year of college after completing their freshman year. That's below the national average of about 73 percent.

Many of the students come from challenging backgrounds with the school located in Southeast San Diego, an area known to be one of the lower-income neighborhoods of the city, according to the Voice of San Diego's poverty map.

In response to the iNewSource report, Board Chairman Cecil Steppe wrote in a letter to parents, "I assure you that there has been no falsification of grades at Gompers."

Eighth grader Brisa Rivera told NBC 7 that her teachers routinely spend time after class working with them.

"There's like some schools where they don't care if you fail. They tell you that's on you. But here, they help you understand things -- they actually care," said Rivera.

Racino's investigative report suggests Gompers graduates hit a wall in college.

"It just does not line up when you have six kids that have passed or become proficient in the SAT based on their scores. Yet 60 kids are getting straight A's -- that just doesn't jive," said Racino.

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