Researchers at UC San Diego this week released a report looking into “How San Diego’s Class of 2016 Has Fared with New Graduation Requirements,” and it was full of analysis of how San Diego Unified managed to post a 91 percent graduation rate. If that question sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a question we’ve spent a lot of time looking into.

The report analyzes much of our reporting on the topic. Maya Srikrishnan broke down the findings for her weekly Learning Curve column.

Our Mario Koran reported in February that struggling students from the class of 2016 had left district-managed schools for charter schools. Just recently, the president of the school board acknowledged students were sometimes encouraged to leave. It was something the district was addressing.

The report looked into whether tougher graduation requirements caused school staff to increase pressure on students with low grade point averages to leave district schools. They found no real difference in GPAs for 11th grade students from 2015, compared to students from 2016 who experienced tougher requirements.

“That suggests that the more rigorous requirements did not make principals, teachers or others counsel struggling students to leave the district more than they had been before,” Srikrishnan writes.

Finally, researchers tried to address concerns raised by Voice of San Diego when Koran witnessed students cheating on course work they were taking online to recover school credits. Teachers told us they felt powerless to stop it. When researchers looked into the grades received by students who took online courses, “More students received Fs than As. If cheating was rampant, more students would likely have higher grades,” according to the report.

Marijuana Laws: San Diego Explained

Medical marijuana use has been legal in California for awhile now, but recreational use is only now getting ready for legalization in San Diego, starting in January 2018. But the hard work of figuring out the supply chain of cannabis — who can grow the plant, manufacture the products, where those products can be stocked and sold, and most importantly who is allowed to deliver it to customers, these are all questions that every city has to work out for itself. In our most recent San Diego Explained, Scott Lewis and NBC 7’s Monica Dean check into how San Diego is doing on answering these questions as the City Council gears up to tackle marijuana issues next week.

Commentary: Beware of Lemon Grove Cannabis Petitions

Lemon Grove City Councilman Jerry Jones wants the people of Lemon Grove to think twice when they are approached to sign any petition that would revise his city’s cannabis laws. He says petitions are circulating that would decrease oversight of cannabis and provide no protection for some daycare facilities. “My question to my neighbors in Lemon Grove is this: How many medical marijuana dispensaries do we really need in our little town?” Jones asks. “Three dispensaries are moving forward and are on their way toward city approval.”

Refugees Face Eviction

The International Rescue Committee usually helps refugees who are settling in American cities to find appropriate housing, but a recent investigation by KPBS turned up evidence that large families in San Diego were being crammed into small apartments, and that IRC staff were encouraging refugee families to lie on their rental documents to secure the rental units. The national office for the IRC admitted this week that “it has found problems with the way its San Diego branch placed refugees in homes,” potentially putting those immigrant families at risk of eviction, KPBS reports.

DREAMers Fear Data Bait and Switch

Many members of Congress are worried that information voluntarily provided by participants of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will be used against those participants and their families now that President Trump has decided to end the program. San Diego Congresswoman Susan Davis took the lead in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security urging the department to safeguard the private data of DACA participants so that it isn’t used in immigration enforcement efforts. “The young DREAMers who have come forward and shared not only their personal data, but that of their families with the federal government did so with many assurances from our government,” says the letter signed by 78 members of Congress.

Amazon ‘HQ2’ in San Diego?

Amazon announced it is looking to open up a second headquarters in the United States that would be coequal in size to its current headquarters in Seattle. Every city you can imagine jumped on the news, promising to compete hard to provide a home for 50,000 Amazon jobs and the associated revenues. San Diego leaders signaled similar intentions via Twitter.

But Amazon doesn’t want to put HQ2 in just any city. It laid out a list of requirements that its new host city must meet, and Market Watch looked into which cities actually meet those requirements.

Lightning Round

• The New York Times notes how artists have been flocking to the San Diego-Tijuana border recently to create and showcase artwork. Earlier this year we showcased some of the most memorable recent artwork on display at the border.

• Public health officials in Los Angeles are now on high alert for Hepatitis A following an outbreak here in San Diego. (KHTS)

• Former San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts is being sued for defamation by Paul Gaspar, the husband of current Supervisor Kristin Gaspar. Gaspar is still upset by some campaign mailers sent out by Roberts’ reelection campaign. (San Diego Reader)

• People are dying of Hepatitis A on San Diego’s streets so officials figure they should probably start washing the sidewalks with an agent that kills the virus. (NBC 7)

• “A Hispanic-owned firm whose workers have been threatened and harassed for security projects along the Mexico border was chosen Thursday to build a prototype for President Trump’s long-promised border wall.” There is still no money appropriated by Congress for this project. (Washington Post)

• Thanks to UC San Diego researchers, your dental check-up may someday be a little more pleasant when they start using squid ink instead of sharp metal tools to test your gums. (New Atlas)

• San Diego is taking on a flood of orphaned pets from Houston, delivered to us from shelters by way of airplane. (Huffington Post)

• The Chargers are gone, and Qualcomm declined to renew naming rights for the stadium. That means it is time to officially rename the stadium, KPBS reports. Many sports buffs yearn for the days when sportswriter Jack Murphy’s name graced the stadium, but that era seems almost mythical in modern days of stadium naming rights.

We’ve reported the stadium is in such need of repair that syrup from the soda machines is leaking from the concrete walls, so perhaps “Diet Dr. Pepper Stadium” has some ring to it? On the other hand, while the stadium is still home to epic tailgate parties that leave the parking lot looking like a tornado hit a beer pong festival, maybe now is the time for the company that makes the infamous red plastic cup to step up to do its part and give us the aptly named “Solo Stadium.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post said researchers found no real difference in GPA for 11th grade students from 2011 and 2015, compared to students from 2016 who experienced tougher requirements. Only the 2015 and 2016 GPAs were similar. The 2011 GPA was actually markedly higher than in 2015 and 2016.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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