Memorial Preparatory for Scholars and Athletes is the school parents avoid most in San Diego, and we recently learned that discussions are going forward about tearing it down and rebuilding it.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber had a warning. There’s no guarantee that building a new school in its place will change its perception or performance.

“If building new schools was the key, we’d have found that key and opened that door. That’s not the answer,” she said. “People will come where excellence is.”

Weber sat down with me on stage Tuesday at the Creative, Performing and Media Arts School to talk about excellence in education and her exasperation this spring when she tried to move a bill at evaluating teachers and it was shot down.

She said she is offended when her peers or others suggest that because so many students live in poverty, it’s impossible or inappropriate to try to measure student progress.

“We believe there’s some value-added for kids who don’t have everything they need, and going to school makes a difference,” she said. “People sometimes think that because children are poor, you shouldn’t expect much out of them. Because they are poor, you must expect much of them.”

I enjoyed the conversation, and you can listen to the whole thing below.

I also asked her some questions outside the specific issue of seeking excellence in education.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins appears to be getting ready to run against state Sen. Marty Block. I asked Weber who she would support.

“Toni’s my friend,” she said.

“So Toni?” I said.

“Toni’s my friend.”

Listen to the whole thing and let me know what I missed.

Listen to the podcast here, on Stitcher or on iTunes.

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Scott Lewis

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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