Morning Report: SD Schools Turned to Online Classes for Struggling Seniors

On Wednesday, we posted the first part of our effort to understand how San Diego Unified reached a record-breaking 92 percent graduation rate for the class of 2016.

It took Mario Koran a while to pin down just what it was 92 percent of — and it wasn’t even close to 92 percent of the kids who started their freshman year as part of that class.

Now we look at the group that did graduate. According to the district’s numbers “15 percent of students in the class of 2016 had more than a year’s work to complete and less than a year to complete it,” Koran reports. The solution for many of those struggling students? Online classes that could be taken to recover missing credits. Of the students who took the online courses last year, 92 percent of them passed the courses and got their credits.

Online courses are great because students can take them during nights and weekends. “But the classes also allowed students to skip over course sections if they scored at least a 70 percent on a ‘pretest’ they take before they begin coursework,” Koran writes. And there are some questions about their rigor. Students are allowed to look up answers on the internet during those pretests.

New Plan For Third Graders

At 56 percent, San Diego Unified is earning a failing grade when it comes to the number of third graders who meet English language arts standards on a statewide test. Rachel Evans reports the district is promising to completely eliminate the problem and have all third graders meeting standards using a four-year plan.

“[Superintendent Cindy Marten] said her plans to improve scores include focusing on effective literacy programs for students in pre-kindergarten grades and increasing student attendance,” Evans writes. The district is also pleading with families to help support reading habits at home.

• Figuring out how the youngest students learn is a hot topic among researchers. In our most recent episode of Good Schools For All, we talk to Timothy Brown, assistant professor of neurosciences at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine, about the nexus between neuroscientists and elementary school teachers and the breakthroughs that are possible when the two fields collaborate. We also hear from a professor explain how can predict when a child is ready to learn to read.

Hotel Tax Lawsuit Revives

After making changes to get out of one lawsuit, San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District is faced with yet another lawsuit which “questions the legality of the hotel tax as well as the changes that the Tourism Marketing District made in order to make the prior lawsuit disappear,” writes San Diego Reader’s Dorian Hargrove.

El Cajon Rundown

• Another lawsuit has been filed against El Cajon in connection with the police shooting of Alfred Olango in September. This time, the lawsuit was filed by Olango’s wife, KPBS reports.

• Residents of El Cajon may be interested in knowing which candidates for City Council support the creation of a citizen’s review board in that city. (KPBS)

• El Cajon voters are also being asked if they want to change their voting system to elect City Council members by district instead of at-large. (KPBS)

Lightning Round

• U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter announced he’s going to pay nearly $50,000 back to his campaign after ongoing revelations from the Union-Tribune and Federal Elections Commission about how he used campaign dollars for personal expenses and treats, which is illegal.

• The Cubs won it all on Wednesday and it was a former University of San Diego star who made the final play. (NBC 7)

• Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants his colleagues who are talking about impeaching Hillary Clinton if she wins the presidency to pump the brakes. There’s this little thing called voting, you see. “Do that first,” Issa said. (CNN)

• Governor Brown and Councilman Todd Gloria teamed up on Thursday to urge voters to vote against Proposition 53. (Union-Tribune)

• Voting for Hillary Clinton may expose your soul to the risk of eternal damnation in the burning fires of the deepest levels of hell, if you believe one local Catholic parish newsletter. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego walked it back. (Union-Tribune)

• People like San Diego’s airport pretty well but they hate all the airports in New York. (

• Brace your livers San Diegans, Beer Week approacheth. (Union-Tribune)

[Source:-Voice Diego]

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