Morning Report: School District Faces Inconvenient Facts - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: School District Faces Inconvenient Facts

City settles Filner harassment suit, looking behind minimum wage research, a children’s treasury of John Lynch quotables, and a parched pursuit for next mayor.

Not too long ago, San Diego schools Superintendent Cindy Marten made a startling declaration at a school board meeting. The district, she said, is failing to educate children equally.

She’s referring to what educators like to call the “achievement gap,” a polite way of referring to the fact that certain groups of kids don’t do as well as others. Which children? There’s the rub. As our reporter Mario Koran notes in a new story, “Cut the term open… and questions of race, poverty and equity spill out.”

Marten seems willing to not only acknowledge the divide but push for specific fixes: “The district would expand and increase its focus on early childhood education. More resources would go to middle schools to support long-term English learners. And the district would try to close the so-called school-to-prison pipeline by revamping disciplinary practices and preventing drop-outs.”

City Settles Major Suit over Filner Harassment

The city has settled the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by ex-Mayor Filner’s communication’s director for $250,000, the LA Times reports.

Irene McCormack Jackson, who’d been a longtime local reporter and spokeswoman for the port district, will no longer work for the city. She’s been on leave from a job with the current mayor’s office.

Following the Money on Wage Research

If someone’s saying something, see who’s paying them. OK, it’s not as catchy as “Follow the Money,” but the message is the same whether we’re talking about politics, journalism or research.

A couple of those topics are in the news this week in light of an NY Times story that reveals the funding behind research that casts a poor light on increases to minimum wages. We’ve been following the debate over the minimum wage, which is heating up locally, and published a Fact Check this week.

In a new post, we summarize the findings and check in with a local professor who stands by his work despite some criticism from peers in the Times.

Guide to U-T Head Honcho’s Words & Wisdom

John Lynch, the pro-football player-turned-radio-executive who became CEO of the U-T is a perennial quote machine. Now, he’s taking on a new role at the paper, so we thought it would be a good time to remember some of his greatest sayings.

Tonight, Results at Last!

• It’s Election Day in the mayor’s race. You can get the latest election results through the Registrar of Voters and the City Clerk’s office Twitter feed. Expect results from absentee ballots to appear just after 8 p.m., with more results after 10 p.m.

Pro-tip: Don’t get too excited by the early absentee returns. They can be misleading, as they were during the primary election a few weeks ago.

• Inewsource digs deeplyreally deeply — into the finances of the two mayoral candidates and their families but doesn’t find anything too startling.

• The punditocracy, and I’m not making this up, continues to declare that the election will come down to turnout. Also: I boldly predict — write this down! — that the candidate who gets the most votes will win.

Uptown Ponders Pro-Cycling Path

New VOSD intern Ana Ceballos took a look at the continuing debate over making the Uptown region of the city more bike-friendly by, among other things, eliminating some parking spaces. If a recent meeting is any indication, the tide may be shifting in favor of the project.

The idea is to make it easier for cyclists to travel between the Hillcrest area and Old Town, Mission Valley, Downtown, North Park and Balboa Park.

Commentary: Actually, Local Eateries on Upswing

The owner of several San Diego eateries, including North Park’s Urban Solace, has a message for disgruntled former local restauranteur Jay Porter: You’re out of touch.

In a commentary, Matt Gordon critiques Porter’s sharply critical comments in a recent VOSD interview and suggests he missed the point of restaurant success: “That one main thing is simply providing a great guest experience… Porter set a high bar for many, but also had some very public struggles with perceived value and service.”

In the big picture, Gordon writes, “San Diego is growing its reputation as a food town across the U.S. As a restaurateur, I do feel like I have the opportunity to succeed here.”

Quick News Hits

• The Time Warner cable system, which serves a big chunk of the county, will finally air Padres games, the U-T reports, ending a longterm standoff.

• In other sports news, the San Diego State Aztecs basketball team remains at an impressive No. 5 in the national AP rankings.

• The drought has gotten so bad that local water authorities are considering issuing voluntary guidelines about conservation. This means… Um… Well, it doesn’t mean “This means war!” It’s more like “This means we’re deeply concerned!” But it’s the thought that counts.

What else could be done besides shorter showers, drier plants and water-on-request at your favorite eatery? Well, we could bring in a rainmaker to seed clouds or something. But we did that once, in 1916, and this happened. Ohhhkay, never mind.

All right, how about the mayor makes a bold prediction about drought-busting huge rainfall, gets roundly mocked for it, and then sees it come true (and how!). We’ve been there, done that: Just ask former Mayor Maureen O’Connor about the year 1991 and “Miracle March.

It worked then. It could work now. How about it, Mayor To-Be-Announced? A little help?

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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