Kindergarten used to be a place where you learned the rules of school — how to learn, stand in line, sit in a chair for a long time. That’s changed now that California has imposed more academic rigor on the tykes.

With those higher expectations come higher risks: Kids with all sorts of different preparation levels (some went to preschool, others didn’t) have less time to get settled in. And the problems associated with falling behind could stay with them for years.

Education reporter Emily Alpert looks at how schools and lawmakers are dealing with the gaps, including one plan that would create a whole new level of school for the younger kids in each kindergarten class, called “transitional kindergarten.”

Other news:

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• One important thing to watch as county Supervisor Ron Roberts defends his seat against challenger Stephen Whitburn: money. A preliminary peek at the most up-to-date campaign reports shows Roberts doubled Whitburn’s total from May 23 until June 30 and ended up spending more than $118,000 to his challenger’s $17,000. As the campaign moves forward, we’ll be taking a closer look at where that money is coming from.

• Home prices dropped in August, and if Rich Toscano’s estimates prove correct, it will turn out to be the first month-to-month drop since April 2009 in the vaunted Case-Shiller index.

• Just a reminder: We kicked off our arts coverage last week. If you missed it, take a look at the Behind the Scene blog and see what we were up to. We’ve long heard from readers and the community that they’d like to see us cover the arts, and we believe it’s a key piece of a city’s quality of life. Enjoy.


• The Chula Vista waterfront is a unique part of San Diego. It’s prime coastal land, but doesn’t much look like it. It’s home to a salt factory, old industrial plots and a monstrous, hulking power plant.

As you might expect, Chula Vista officials want to take the old wrecking ball to the South Bay Power Plant and get busy developing the coast. But that effort just got delayed further after the state decided it needs the plant to operate through 2011. (KPBS)

This, by the way, is why our Fact Check team issued a “misleading” to when a local environmental organization said the plant was done.

• Speaking of KPBS, happy birthday! The station turned 50, and the Union-Tribune says it’s cooking up plans for a nightly news analysis show.

• In the wake of the San Bruno disaster, SDG&E is telling people what to look for in case of a gas leak and says not to be a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to investigating leaks. Call the company. (LA Times)

• Then again, maybe that distinctive odor isn’t a gas leak. The City Council is set today to take a step toward regulating the city’s 125 medical marijuana dispensaries. (UT) Check out our San Diego Explained for a good primer on the bizarre regulatory gap that the dispensaries are lodged in.

• Pirates have become something of a pop culture phenomenon. There’s a whole genre of jokes about them. A festival in Portland is dedicated to them where people talk like them. And Johnny Depp even plays one in a movie.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that they’re real, they’re still around and they’re still dangerous. The North County Times has the story of how the Camp Pendleton Marines seized a German-based ship that had been hijacked.

• Here’s a story to keep an eye on: Escondido is flirting with the idea of subsidizing a baseball stadium there that would house the Padres’ AAA minor league team. (NCT) The city had a similar, but brief, interest in drawing the Chargers there, too.

• The team eventually focused its efforts back on downtown San Diego. For now, the team’s still at Qualcomm Stadium and will start its 2010 season today. That means it’s that time in the greater San Diego area to ask that perennial, somewhat anguished, question: Is this the year the team breaks the curse and wins the Super Bowl?

Please contact Andrew Donohue at or 619.325.0526. Follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

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