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A Back-to-School Crash Course

Schools are back in session. Good Schools for All hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn introduce Voice of San Diego’s new education reporter Will Huntsberry, and the trio unpacks the latest education news you might have missed over summer break. Huntsberry discusses the misuse of Associated Student Body funds in San Diego Unified schools, new developments in the district’s 2016 graduation rate controversy and offers his take on what makes education reporting in San Diego unique. The crew...


Districts Struggle to Stay Afloat Despite Increased State Funding

At first glance, California schools seem to be doing well. The state plans to steadily increase education funding through 2022, giving school districts with higher numbers of low-income students, English-learners, foster youth and homeless children more money and control over how to spend it. But despite the cushion of financial support, school districts across the state, including San Diego Unified, are preparing to make big budget cuts to stay afloat. Jason Willis and Kelsey Krausen,...


The After-School Care Gap

After-school programs are crucial for many families. From the time school gets out around 2 or 3 p.m. to the time most parents get off work at 5 or 6 p.m., after-school program providers offer kids expanded academics and enrichment activities like arts or physical education. But while the need is clear, many state and federally funded after-school programs are struggling to survive. Almost all of the quality after-hours programs in the county are have long waitlists, and not every family...


Good Schools for All: Serving San Diego’s Most Vulnerable Youth

The San Diego County Office of Education has its hands in lots of things. But one of its biggest tasks is making sure the regions's most vulnerable students don't slip through the cracks. On the latest podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn talk to Paul Gothold, the new superintendent of the San Diego County Office of Education, about efforts to get underserved students the tools they need to succeed. Also the podcast, Lewis and Kohn discuss San Diego Unified's recent decision to move...


A Lincoln High Success Story

Lincoln High is a struggling school. A string of administrative problems and increasing violence between students at Lincoln continues to prompt many families to send their kids to schools outside their neighborhood. But Karly Van Holten saw something she liked about Lincoln. Despite having other high school options, she told her mom she wanted to stay in her neighborhood and go to Lincoln. "Everything about Lincoln screams community," she said. "I learned how to be in a community and...


'I Found a Way to Keep Reporting'

Voice of San Diego education reporter Mario Koran is leaving his post. His reporting on San Diego schools over the past five years has pulled back the curtain on several policies and practices that affect local families. He’s tackled everything from school discipline, graduation rates, administrative scandals, bilingual education and more. Koran sits down with hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to look back at some of his most impactful work and the hurdles he had to overcome to report...


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 a...


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 and...


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.