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Good Schools for All: Reaching Out to Disconnected Kids

Adulting can be hard. Many kids have difficulties navigating the transition from high school to the "real world." Lots get stuck in limbo. There's a snappy new term for these 16-to-24-year-olds who don’t attend school or have a job — "opportunity youth." On April 12, the San Diego Workforce Partnership is hosting a summit to talk about why there's an estimated 41,000 young people in San Diego county who aren't in school or working. The hope is to come up with solutions about how to make...


The Raging Demand for More Computer Science Education

Tech jobs abound. Our education system isn't churning out enough students with computer science training to meet the voracious demand for high-skilled tech workers. But schools in San Diego are trying to catch up. Locally, only 10 percent of San Diego County high schools offered computer science courses as recently as 2011. This year, closer to 40 percent of high schools here have computer science curriculum. Behind that jump in numbers are educators like Art Lopez, a computer science...


A Parent’s Guide to Public Schools

Finding the right school for your kids just got a little easier. Voice of San Diego has launched an inaugural issue of A Parent’s Guide to Public Schools. On the podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn talk about the guide and arm parents with the information they need to find a good school. Last year, we released a map of San Diego County schools with crucial data about each. Our print guide features an easy-to-read version of that map and builds on the data by including explainers...


Poway Unified's New Leader

The Poway Unified School District is one of the highest regarded school districts in the state. Its schools are good and its students are high-performing. But the district's sterling reputation has a few big dings. Poway Unified's leadership has been under a cloud of suspicion since 2011 when Voice of San Diego broke a story about a strange bond that allowed the district to immediately borrow $150 million, but then required it to pay back $1 billion by 2035. That financial scandal shook...


The Future of Teachers Unions

It's a particularly important time for unions. Locally the San Diego Education Association, the teachers union at the San Diego Unified School District, does not have a contract. It is working on contract negotiations with the district right now. They may support a measure to raise taxes and bring more money into the district while also pushing for wage increases. They're also working with the county on a new evaluation system for teachers that they may consider putting into those...


A Guide to San Diego Schools

Parents who want to choose the best schools for their kids often get overwhelmed wading through test scores and other metrics. That struggle becomes especially real when San Diego Unified’s school choice window opens every year. From Oct. 3 through Nov. 13, families can choose to send their kids to a school outside their neighborhood. To ease the process, Voice of San Diego, along with the San Diego Workforce Partnership and UC San Diego Extension Center, put together an interactive map...


The Untold Story Behind the Sweetwater Schools Scandal

“The culture of the district was basically based on retaliation, intimidation. Those are the two words that I can think of,” said former Sweetwater school board member Bertha Lopez. Exactly six years have passed since Sweetwater schools superintendent Jesus Gandara was terminated at 2 a.m. on June 21, 2011 following seven hours of closed door meetings. A raucous crowd of 500 people gathered in a high school gymnasium the evening before to attend the Sweetwater Union High School District...


Helping Students Get Unstuck

Entering the real world is difficult for many young adults, but for some that transition often leaves them stuck in limbo. The term "opportunity youth" is now being used to describe the growing number of 16- to 24-year-olds who don't attend school or have a job. A few institutions in the region have started noticing the problem of disconnected youth and new programs serving the population are in the works. San Diego Continuing Education, a school that provides adults with different job...


What Works Best for English-Learners

There's no one comprehensive strategy behind educating English-learners in California. Instead, it's a mishmash of programs, many of which leave students struggling to learn English for years. This week, cohosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn discuss what research is showing to be the best ways to educate English-learners. Author and education expert Ruby Takanishi joins the show to talk about a recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that examined the...


How Cajon Valley Is Killing it

The Cajon Valley Union School District has nailed personalized learning. The approach gives more control to students and lets them build on their own strengths with the help of technology tools and a flexible curriculum. This week, hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn talked to David Miyashiro, superintendent of Cajon Valley, about how the district is working to meet individual students' needs. Miyashiro also discussed his district's refugee demographic. He said roughly 900 refugee children...


Credit-Recovery Charters In, DeVos Out

The controversies surrounding Betsy DeVos' strong support for school choice hit home just as she took office as secretary of education. When Diane Ravitch, an education researcher, suggested that DeVos visit successful school districts like San Diego Unified, local teachers unions were furious to find out that the invitation was actually extended on behalf of the district's board of trustees. Outcry from local teachers eventually caused that invitation to be rescinded. In this week's...


Breaking Down Betsy DeVos

Hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn discuss Betsy DeVos and what her nomination as Secretary of Education could mean for in California. In the second half, Lewis and Kohn speak with Miles Durfee, Managing Regional Director of the California Charter Schools Association.


What Does It Mean to Graduate?

Hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn speak with Dr. Sandy Husk, CEO of the college preparatory program AVID, Jill Anderson, Principal of O'Farrell Charter's Middle School Academy and Chuy Gomez, an AVID student at O'Farrell.


Lincoln High and the Challenge of School Turnarounds

A special episode of Good Schools For All.


How Children's Brains Learn to Learn

Effective learning strategies can vary from child to child — but youth brain studies reveal new clues that can help educators improve students' academic achievement. On this week’s podcast, Timothy Brown, assistant professor of neurosciences at UCSD's School of Medicine, joined co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to talk about youth brain development, the impact of childhood trauma and technology's role in brain studies. Brown said increased collaboration between neuroscientists and...


The Schools Issues on Your Ballot

It's almost Election Day, and thousands of students are counting on voters to make good decisions. On this week’s podcast, co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn discuss state and local ballot measures connected to education. Locally, Measure I, for instance, allows voters to help choose the fate of San Diego High School, which is located on dedicated parkland. "If you don't care that San Diego High School is there, and you don't care about this broader principal about whether we should be...


When to Consider Special Ed

When it comes to giving students with disabilities the best education possible, early intervention and early detection are crucial – but not all families are equipped to access the resources they need. On this week’s podcast, Shana Cohen, assistant professor of education studies at UC San Diego, joined co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to talk about how children from different cultures sometimes receive varied levels of services for developmental disabilities. "A lot of times, it's an...


Out With the Old Test, in With the New

A couple years ago, the state got rid of the California Standards Tests and opted for a new way to check in on student progress. On this week’s podcast, Steve Green, senior director for assessment, accountability and evaluation at the San Diego County Office of Education, joined co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to talk about the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, the state's new standardized testing system. The test aligns with Common Core Standards and is more rigorous than the older...


'Your ZIP Code Is Not Your Destiny'

High school graduation rates are up – but students' access to quality courses still varies from school to school. Last school year, the San Diego Unified School District touted a 92 percent high school graduation rate – an increase despite the district's new, tougher graduation requirements. The new standards mean students must successfully complete the same high school courses required for admission into California State University and University of California schools. But it seems not...


Where Are the New Teachers?

We need a lot more teachers. Fewer folks want to be teachers, even as the demand increases. In San Diego County, about 32 percent of teachers are 50 years old or older. As more teachers retire, we have to replace them. On this week’s podcast, Heather Lattimer, associate professor at the University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Education Sciences, joined host Laura Kohn to talk about ways to recruit students into the teaching profession. Lattimer said the education field is in a...


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