Normally, the County Board of Education race isn’t one that makes it into headlines. But this year, four of the five spots on the board are up for grabs. And things are heating up.

The folks elected to the County Board of Education wield some power. They do things like approve the San Diego Office of Education‘s annual budget, select and choose the very powerful county superintendent. The board also serves as the appeals board for charter schools that have been denied the right to open by a district in San Diego County.

In this week’s podcast, co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn tried to put on a debate between District 1 incumbent Gregg Robinson and his challenger, Mark Powell.  District 1 represents most of the city of San Diego on the board. Only Robinson accepted the opportunity to debate. But Lewis and Kohn got Powell on the phone after to ask why he wouldn’t face off with Robinson.

One hot topic in the race is charter schools and whether the candidates would support more of them in San Diego.

“I’m sure there are really good charter schools and there’s really bad charter schools,” said Powell. “I would give a fair evaluation if, in fact, an appeal does come to the county board.”

Robinson, a professor of sociology at Grossmont College, says he, too, supports charter schools, but only when they’re effective.

“Charter schools have been very helpful with low-income students in inner-city areas,” he said. “So I support them in those kind of circumstances if they’re doing the job they’re really designed for, but I’m not a rubber-stamp for charter schools.”

Number of the Week

 1,600: The number of at-risk students currently enrolled in San Diego County Office of Education schools. About 12,000 at-risk students cycle through County Office of Education schools over the course of the school year.

We also have a Number of the Week correction. In our May 5 episode, we said 75 percent of middle and high school students are long-term English-learners. The correct number is 75 percent of middle and high school English-learners are in long-term programs.

What’s Working

John Spiegel, science coordinator at the San Diego County Office of Education: County schools are beginning to adopt dramatically different standards for teaching science. To help make the transition, Spiegel and his staff have provided professional development opportunities, online resources and more to teachers and schools. For more on this, listen to our March 31 interview with Trish Williams.

Got thoughts, opinions or experiences with this? Call 619-354-1085 and leave your name, neighborhood and story so we can play the voicemail on future episodes.

Subscribe to Good Schools for All on iTunes or get the RSS feed here. Stream it here.

Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture...

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