We’ve talked a lot about new graduation requirement in San Diego Unified School District that thousands of kids in the class of 2016 are not on track to meet.

The so-called A-G requirements are meant to put the district’s graduation standards in line with California public university standards for admission. But as Mario Koran notes, the district may do some end-arounds to make sure kids still graduate. It might let them pass with D grades even though the universities require them to get Cs or better.

It might allow some bilingual students to test out of the foreign language requirement or take sign language. Worse, though, teachers might feel pressured to give failing students Ds to protect graduation rate goals.

• Remember, Cindy Marten’s No. 1 priority this year is keeping graduation rates high.

A San Diego Unified pilot program works with students as young as kindergarten to find out why they’re missing school and help eliminate absences.

The SANDAG Saga’s Next Act

SANDAG will appeal a recent ruling that its comprehensive transportation plan does not conform to the state’s laws on greenhouse gas emissions. So we’ll see what the Supreme Court does. Here’s some background on the original ruling that said SANDAG needed to do more to limit emissions.

Andrew Keatts talked with SANDAG board member Kristine Alessio, who said SANDAG isn’t just defending its plan (though she admits the group doesn’t want to change anything), but it wants to stave off a dangerous court precedent. Alessio also challenges the idea that San Diegans want more public transit. She wrote to some advocates: “My constituents want me to close some of our trolley stations. They want freeway offramps completed, that’s what they want from SANDAG and MTS.”

State Rakes in Cash

California state tax revenue is exceeding projections — by a lot — which is, paradoxically, going to make things a bit dicey for Gov. Jerry Brown, writes Brian Joseph in our Sacramento Report. Brown will have to be the bulwark against overspending.

“If he wants to keep his promises and hold the line on state spending, then he’s going to have to go toe to toe with fellow Democrats. Brown is going to have to tell his closest colleagues no,” Joseph writes.

What We Learned This Week

• Carl DeMaio’s defense against a second former staffer’s sexual harassment allegations all comes down to a urinal.

• The San Diego fire union chief says two-person fire crews are a raw deal for the community. But he wasn’t being totally clear on the real price tag for a full crew.

• One parent says her son has had a good experience with a Teach for America corps member as his teacher. But there’s still room for improvement.

• City leaders are beginning to consider whether San Diego should get more out of the money it spends on affordable housing.

Quick News Hits

• If we wanted to end the drought in San Diego by April 2015, we’d need 18-21 inches of rain by then. (L.A. Times)

• Presumably not happy with the candidates so far, the city of San Diego has reposted its help wanted ad for a new planning director.

• When San Diego City Council members don’t spend their whole budgets, they can give money out to the community. Ed Harris, who’s wrapping up his short term in District 2, has spent the bulk of what he was allocated to hand out and now, his successor is not happy. (U-T)

• We can’t seem to get an All-Star Game but San Diego will host baseball’s big winter meetings, which will open here Sunday. (KPBS)

Quote of the Week

“It’s important for the community to understand that this case is not about punishing someone for rapping and it’s not about a First Amendment issue. This case is about protecting our neighborhoods by taking violent gang members off the streets and holding them accountable for the crimes they commit using a law that voters passed and the court has recognized as constitutional.”

— The district attorney’s office statement defending charges against a rapper for rapping

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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