Morning Report: Memo Shows District Pushed Principals to Reclassify English-Learners - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Memo Shows District Pushed Principals to Reclassify English-Learners

In Veronica Gonzalez’s kindergarten class at Sherman Elementary, students learn half the day in English and half the day in Spanish. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

San Diego Unified officials are pushing principals to quickly move students who aren’t native English speakers out of their language support program.

A memo obtained by Voice of San Diego’s Will Huntsberry reveals the district’s central office called on principals “to reclassify a minimum of 75%” of eligible English-learners.

The memo has come to light following state compliance officers’ determination that some district guidelines for reclassifying these students were too subjective and that the district was not taking all state-mandated steps to get parents’ input.

District officials told VOSD the 75 percent target shouldn’t be seen as a quota but, as Huntsberry reports, some parents and educators fear the goal is leading principals to reclassify students who may go on to struggle academically.

The Pro-Transit Opposition to SANDAG’s Transit Vision

SANDAG director Hasan Ikhrata’s plan to remake transportation in San Diego has been primarily under fire from the right, but there’s an emerging line of criticism from the left as well.

Leadership at the Metropolitan Transit System told the Union-Tribune that the tax measure for transit they’re pursuing for the 2020 ballot will not in any way reflect the radically new vision Ikhrata is proposing. The measure will instead look to bolster bus service and potentially a new light-rail line like what currently exists in the county; Ikhrata says it’s time to abandon the light rail for a much faster rail service, and a new bus line unveiled this year is currently missing ridership expectations.

MTS’s leadership said it’s important to work on improving transit service today, while SANDAG works on a long-term vision of the future.

Perhaps more troubling for Ikhrata and SANDAG is who made a point to distance himself from the new vision.

Assemblyman Todd Gloria, a mayoral candidate who has closely aligned with SANDAG throughout his career, would not say that he supported Ikhrata’s proposal.

“I’m not sure if the heavier rail version is necessary,” Gloria told the U-T. “Some of these projects sound really expensive and there’s only so many dollars available. But I’m open to the conversation.”

MTS board chair Georgette Gómez, who emphatically supported Ikhrata’s proposal when it was first announced, did not speak to the U-T for its story.

One local Dem who supports SANDAG’s plan is Rep. Scott Peters: He tweeted Tuesday that “Until now, SD let funding drive outcomes. We should support Hasan’s approach and ask that short-term measures be consistent with long-term goals.”

A New Musical Residency Program Is Coming to San Diego

This week’s Culture Report focuses on an Escondido arts space’s efforts to establish a perhaps first-of-its-kind music residency to support not only musicians but podcasting, field recording and other sound-based gurus. The once largely word-of-mouth organization called A Ship in the Woods has taken steps to better establish itself by hiring its first executive director and hiring a longtime city arts administrator as it ramp up its residency program.

Also in the Culture Report: VOSD contributor Julia Dixon Evans rounds up upcoming arts and culture events, a list of the city’s best churros and more.

In Other News

  • In a letter to the editor, a former director with the U.S. Forest Service in California and an affordable housing developer argue that wildfire concerns should not materially affect homebuilding decisions in San Diego as we attempt to combat the region’s housing crisis.
  • Most of the county is in a risky wildfire area, they argue, so making development there off-limits would functionally suffocate growth.
  • County data shows more San Diego County hate crimes are being prosecuted but they represent only a fraction of reported cases that authorities review. (Union-Tribune)
  • A bill by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that passed the state Assembly last week would grant workers full paychecks when they take family leave. (The Hill)
  • The city’s citizens advisory board on police and community relations has urged 30 changes – from a reduced focus on military experience to a pilot moratorium on pretext stops – and the board’s chair has already concluded that implementation is unlikely. (The Union-Tribune)
  • An Oceanside fire station is “uninhabitable” following a Tuesday fire, forcing a handful of the city’s firefighters to relocate. (NBC 7 San Diego)

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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