Tom O’Malley, a fourth-grade teacher at Birney Elementary, was frustrated. He and another teacher inherited a class of students he said was badly behind. They worked hard and made great strides, but because the class was worse than the one before it, according to standardized measures, he hadn’t made progress at all.

In fact, it looked to anyone observing the data that the class was slipping.

Some officials want to change that to start tracking students individually as they progress through the system, a more accurate depiction of student progress. A UCSD economist says it wouldn’t be hard to filter the data differently. But budget woes and teachers complaining about an overload of tests already are making a switch harder than it might seem to achieve.

In other news:

  • Emily Alpert, who put together the article above, is not only a diligent reporter, she’s a steward of the conversation about local education. And she has an update on one of the many trains of thought she’s helped parents and teachers host. She’s been trying to help people talk about ways to measure creativity and the latest batch of observations she collected on that topic are interesting.
  • Rich Toscano has been maintaining a lot of graphs over the last four years. But one of the most interesting is his tracking of the year-over-year rate of job loss/gain. It has almost perfectly paralleled what many felt was the economic reality: A deep and ugly loss of jobs followed by what seemed like some improvement recently. Unfortunately, the latest data point isn’t quite as positive.


  • The Union-Tribune has a fairly long story out today about the cruise ship industry, including the news that the port is expecting the number of people taking the cruises to drop dramatically. This, at the same time it constructs a major new terminal for the ships and their passengers. The paper also reports that the port is spending money on radio and TV ads to lure San Diegans to take cruises. 
  • As one official says justifying the PR blitz: “I’m always surprised that people understand there are cruise ships (docked) in San Diego but don’t understand they can actually buy a cruise that sails from San Diego.”
  • If you’re a San Diegan who doesn’t realize you could take a cruise from San Diego if you have the money, you probably shouldn’t be anywhere near water or big machines.
  • The U-T also has a story up about angst over labor agreements for major government construction projects locally. It includes a contractor activist’s declaration that he will “step on the throats” of labor proponents of these deals. It’s nice to see that debate take a turn toward civility.
  • Speaking of contractors and construction, the NC Times explains a trend playing out in San Diego as well as the rest of the country: We’re building smaller homes.
  • Finally, the NC Times has another interesting housing note: Realtors and bankers are shirking when veterans show them paperwork for a VA loan to buy a home.

Apparently home sellers can afford to be picky. I wonder how long that can last.


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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