Today’s Examiner ran a story on “Why So Low?,” a five-minute documentary about the exceptionally low graduation rate of African Americans and especially African American males at Thurgood Marshall High School in San Francisco. Out of 150 African American seniors in 2009, just three boys and 13 girls graduated.

The documentary, made by Thurgood Marshall students Donel Finks, Angelica Escobar, Edgar Ulu, Fernando Torrez and Frank Nelson, finished first in the high school division of the sixth My Hero Short Film Festival, held at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles on Saturday. In the film, an assistant principal calls the current rate of graduation, which has been dropping for years, “horrific,” and one male African-American freshman says, “They judge you by your second-grade test scores…It seems to me they’ve been making my prison cell since the second grade. It’s not good to be thinking they already expect you to go to jail.”

Here is the full documentary:

Watch: Documentary Looks at “Horrific” African-American Grad Rate at Thurgood Marshall 22 November,2010Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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