A Kearny High senior adjusts her cap during the school’s graduation ceremony. / Photo by Dustin Michelson
A Kearny High senior adjusts her cap during the school’s graduation ceremony. / Photo by Dustin Michelson

When San Diego Unified announced its graduation rate for the class of 2017 earlier this summer, it did so with far less fanfare than in 2016, when the district posted a jaw-droppingly high number.

It took pains in the announcement to stress that the new number 86.6 percent couldn’t be compared to previous years, because California adopted a new method for calculating its graduation rates.

That’s true, and it means that grad rates for schools across California took a dip.

In a new explainer, Will Huntsberry examines the changes the state made.

“The biggest change has to do with adult education degrees and high school proficiency exams,” he writes. “Previously, those were tallied toward the number of students who graduated. Now, California school districts can only count students receive who regular high school diplomas in their graduate column.”

“Q: You mentioned graduation rates at your schools…

SALAS: Are going up.

Q: …are going up. The…

SALAS: The test scores are going up.

Q: The yardstick for establishing what those are has changed, I understand, recently. So where are you now in… in relation to San Diego and other cities around Southern California?

SALAS: So you’ve asked me another question that I’m not an expert in.

Q: Okay.

SALAS: I just know that the scores have gone up and our graduation rates have gone up. I don’t know how they’ve accomplished it or what the measurements are.”

‘There Is Nowhere You Are More Subject to Big Brother’s Eye Than at a Port of Entry’

A lot of the news involving the U.S.-Mexico border involves the spaces between official ports of entry – that is, the places where people cross illegally.

But, as Maya Srikrishnan points out in this week’s Border Report, perhaps everyone should be paying more attention to those ports of entry.

Illicit goods, including drugs, tend to come through the official ports of entry.

And Customs and Border Patrol wields enormous power when it comes to who they determine merits further screening and what they can do in those interrogations.

Several lawsuits, criminal court cases and news investigations over the past few weeks show how high the stakes can be and how high the potential for abuse is.

“There is nowhere you are more subject to Big Brother’s eye than at a port of entry, land or air,” said Josiah Heyman, director of the Center for Interamerican and Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. “I don’t think people understand how vulnerable their civil liberties are at ports of entry.”

What a Rising Climate Means for San Diego

Rising sea levels could impact SDG&E substations in Mission Bay and San Diego Bay, according to a new statewide threat assessment released Monday.

It’s just one of many vulnerabilities the state is facing amid rising temperatures and sea levels.

Statewide, the report painted a scary picture: “Heat waves will grow more severe and persistent, shortening the lives of thousands of Californians. Wildfires will burn more of the state’s forests. The ocean will rise higher and faster, exposing California to billions in damage along the coast,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

If there was anything close to a positive takeaway from the report, San Diego’s natural gas situation appears to be in relatively good shape: “While it’s estimated that 88 percent of natural gas assets will experience as many as 14 “extreme heat days” per year by the middle of the century, widespread disruptions are not expected and system has capacity to adjust to expected changes,” reports the Union-Tribune.

Ballot Battle Over Rent Control

In November, Californians will decide whether to repeal a state law that prohibits rent control efforts. And in National City, residents will vote on a measure to limit rent increases to no more than a 5 percent bump per year.

In a new op-ed, Paola Martinez-Montes, the San Diego director of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, argues that repealing the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and passing Measure W in National City will help Californians by “bringing stability to their lives at home.” She says Costa-Hawkins has failed at its goal of incentivizing developers to build more housing.

In Other News

  • Assemblyman Todd Gloria gave the ongoing effort to brand a part of City Heights as the “Little Saigon” district a boost. Gloria wrote a resolution directing Caltrans to move forward with posting Little Saigon freeway signs on Interstate 15. (KPBS)
  • The Union-Tribune has more details on the recent purchase of Horton Plaza. Real estate investment firm Stockdale Capital Partners paid $175 million for the downtown mall.
  • A newly published study by UC San Diego is making the rounds. Researchers found that low levels of chemicals in marijuana were found in several mothers’ breast milk up to six days after the nursing moms said they consumed pot. (CNN)
  • You aren’t the only one with ants invading your home. San Diego’s ants are relentless jerks. They’re just one of the things that made CityBeat’s Ryan Bradford’s San Diego-centric list of enemies.
  • Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a short video of himself offering condolences to the family of the mother and daughter killed in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 805 last week.
  • A Kmart apparently still exists in Spring Valley, but not for long. (KPBS)
  • The Town and Country Hotel’s sign, which occasionally posts funny sayings between actual conference announcements, has a new Instagram account that could be fun to follow.

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby and Kinsee Morlan.

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