Just Talk — Leading With Social Justice and Humanity: Jose Luis Navarro

In this week’s Just Talk, John Rogers sits down with Jose Luis Navarro, the principal of Social Justice Humanitas Academy (SJHA). SJHA is a pilot high school located at the far northern edge of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Mr. Navarro and a group of teachers founded SJHA in 2011 with the aim of “achieving social justice through the development of the complete individual.”

Here’s an exerpt from the conversation.

John Rogers: Jose, how would you describe your school to someone who has never been here before?

Jose Luis Navarro: I would like to use a lot of flowery poetic language, but let me instead use data. Yesterday, we were told at our principal’s meeting that our graduation rate was 94.3 percent. In our local district, one other school just outpaced us at 95.1 percent. As principals were being congratulated for their improvements, I kept thinking that there are actually other significant numbers, and the one I always look at is A-G completion. I know my A-G completion rate is 90 percent. That’s what I want–congruence. Some schools that have graduation rates in the 90s have A-G completion rates in the 30s. I wrote my superintendent yesterday about this and said we need to stop talking about just the graduation rate. If the graduation rate blinds us to social justice issues, we are going to trip over this low bar. The difference between A-G completion and graduation is the achievement gap… Catch the entire interview, here.