Morning Report: Quality of Teacher Misconduct Investigations Varies Wildly - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Quality of Teacher Misconduct Investigations Varies Wildly

La Costa Canyon High School
La Costa Canyon High School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Local school districts are required to conduct their own investigations into sexual misconduct. But the quality of those investigations can differ wildly from school to school and district to district, found VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez. 

In some cases, private investigators conduct the investigation. In others, principals or administrators try to get to the bottom of what happened. Sometimes, those administrators have been trained to handle such an investigation. But in many cases they haven’t. 

“I want to blame someone for it and say, ‘Why didn’t you do anything, or why didn’t you do this the right way?’ but should we really be blaming administrators when no one’s been taught and they don’t have checklists of what they should be doing?” said one researcher and advocate. 

Jimenez highlighted several examples of the varied investigations across districts. 

In one case, an educator was investigated three different times. Twice by district officials and a third time by a private firm. In another, district officials did not interview a student, even after a teacher sent her inappropriate text messages. 

In a third case, a teacher and an underage student were engaged in a sexual relationship. When administrators asked the student about the relationship, she said they did not seem concerned with her well-being, but rather protecting against liability. Because of their approach, she declined to tell them about the relationship at the time. 

Teacher Diversity in San Diego School Districts, Ranked

Medicare-for-all, the Green New Deal, Universal Basic Income and … teacher diversity? Democratic presidential candidates have brought a relatively obscure policy topic into the open, by floating plans to increase teacher diversity by paying for more teacher training programs for people of color. 

Will Huntsberry took it as an opportunity to analyze teacher diversity data around the county. As with the rest of the country, the data doesn’t look good. However, there was one bright spot. San Ysidro Elementary School District serves 98 percent students of color and has a teacher corps made up of 81 percent teachers of color. No other school district came close to meeting San Ysidro’s mark. One district in North County had zero teachers of color, according to state Department of Education data. 

Teacher diversity isn’t just a leftist talking point. The stakes are incredibly high for students of color. A 2018 study found that black students who had one black teacher before fourth grade were 13 percent more likely to attend college. If the student had two black teachers before fourth grade, they were 32 percent more likely to go to college. 

Big SANDAG Housing Decision Pending Friday

The San Diego Association of Governments will vote Friday on a state-required plan to accommodate new housing in San Diego over the next decade.

The proposal, which attempts to prioritize locations near jobs and transit for future homes, has already been criticized by leaders from some cities who think they’ve been expected to do more than their fair share.

But as KPBS reported Thursday, some of the complaints – that the housing allocations disproportionately affect low-income, minority cities and spare wealthier ones – don’t quite hold up. Yes, cities like Carlsbad and Encinitas have been assigned fewer homes than in previous state cycles, but that’s true of El Cajon and Chula Vista, too. Del Mar, Solana Beach and Coronado are also receiving large increases.

Regardless, there’s no shortage of city officials who view “accommodating more housing” as a categorically negative outcome, a punishment meted out by state and regional officials.

Last year, while preparing the new housing allocation, some SANDAG board members actually pushed the agency to accept a larger countywide housing target, rather than lobbying the state for a lower number. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer led that charge.

During that dispute, former Supervisor Ron Roberts pointed out that no one anywhere accepts new housing, so no one should expect anything to change no matter what SANDAG decides.

“We can’t build in the rural area, because it isn’t the urban area. We can’t build in the urban area, because the urban area doesn’t want it. … Everyone has some excuse about why you can’t do it in our area. Until that changes, it won’t matter what number you pick,” he said.

CA-53 Mania, Day 2: Gomez, Jacobs Are a Maybe

ICYMI: U.S. Rep. Susan Davis announced Wednesday in a letter to her constituents that she would not seek re-election in 2020. The decision was based on “a desire to live and work ‘at home’ in San Diego,” she said.

As expected, the news has set off a frenzy among local Democrats looking to take — or stay far away from — her congressional seat. Here’s what we know so far.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins confirmed on Twitter Thursday she will not be running for the seat. “Many people have reached out to me regarding the 2020 election for the Congressional seat now held by Rep. Davis,” she wrote in a thread. “While I appreciate the consideration, I want to make it clear that I am running for re-election to the California State Senate.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez re-upped that she’s not interested. “There is ZERO chance I will run for Susan Davis’ Congressional Seat. Final. Now Stop texting/asking… I’ve got work to do,” she wrote on Twitter.

San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez, meanwhile, publicly acknowledged that she’s considering getting into the race, Tweeting late Thursday that she is “strongly considering it and will have an announcement soon.” That’s not exactly the same as saying she’s going to run, but it’s far enough down that line that it would now be something of a surprise if she didn’t.

With Assemblyman Todd Gloria, Atkins, Gonzalez and Gómez all making statements, that leaves Assemblywoman Shirley Weber and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher as perhaps the two most high-profile elected officials near CA-53 who have been silent.

Sara Jacobs, a Democrat who ran for Congress last year in CA-49 and granddaughter of Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, released a statement Thursday announcing that she is “seriously considering” a run.

In Thursday’s Morning Report,  we mentioned two candidates are already running: Jose Caballero, who had been storming local Democratic clubs trying to raise a resistance to Davis from the left, and Joaquin Vazquez. We also discussed Gloria’s position — he put rumors to bed before they could start. Read more here.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood, Will Huntsberry and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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