A study last year found that only 12 percent of Sweetwater Union High School District graduates were ready to take college-level English classes at San Diego State or Southwestern College.

You might find this hard to believe but the study concluded that teachers were relying too much on lectures.

Now, college professors are working with Sweetwater early on to teach them how to communicate that something is scary or great rather than just say it is “scary” or “great.” It’s called the rhetorical method and we will want to see how it works out.

The truth is, we can all use some critical thinking skills as we digest the reports coming out of that school district. Quite a narrative is playing out there. A controversial superintendent and a labor force unnerved by promises of major cutbacks next year has made the district a tense place. So stay tuned.

But first, back to effective rhetorical techniques. You can see some of the best ones we’re able to pull off on the first Sunday of every month. On these days, we publish a new installment of “People at Work” — our monthly look at what one San Diegan does to make money. And today’s is a rather engrossing look at an insurance broker.

Engrossing and insurance broker, difficult to picture maybe but he’s an insurance broker who pilots hot-air balloons in his spare time. And the story will make you want to fly.

Sorry to do this to you on a Monday morning.

In case you missed it in Saturday’s report, economics columnist Rich Toscano’s latest has rocketed to the top of the most read pieces on the site. He puts “perspective on the home price rally” many are noticing. His data and fact-based commentary are unmatched in town.

And political columnist Scott Lewis starts going back and forth with reader commenters again underneath his recent back and forth with the Mayor’s Office.

Elsewhere, the U-T commemorated the 40th anniversary of the San-Diego Coronado Bridge Sunday. The paper briefly mentions the bridge’s dark side — a history of deadly leaps, more than 240 since 1969. Last year, we chronicled the bridge’s grim toll. Our coverage included an exploration of why the media began ignoring bridge deaths.

At last, August vacations are upon us. But Lewis and Andrew Donohue, our editor, are not going out of town. The two will take over AM 600 KOGO’s morning show on Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. in place of regular host Chip Franklin. Yes, that’s four hours of those guys — in the morning, no less.

They’ll have guests and take questions on the line and through Twitter. It should be a fun one so get your own questions and challenges for the duo ready.

And then hope they can wake up that early.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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