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Michelle Cortez attended Granite Hills High School in Grossmont Union School District / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Michelle Cortez always knew something was strange about the high school classes she was placed in.

She sometimes functioned more like a teacher, helping other kids, than a student. She’d pass classes with high marks, then be forced to repeat them the next year.

Finally, once she’d completed school and tried to enroll in a technical institute, came the ultimate insult: She learned she hadn’t actually obtained a diploma, but instead had a certificate of completion, reserved for students with disabilities.

Cortez, who entered kindergarten as an English-learner, had been diagnosed as learning disabled as a second-grader, despite being tested only in English. The diagnosis became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as she was consistently placed in classes that didn’t allow her to tap into her potential.

In a new story, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan delves into what went wrong in Cortez’s case, what it tells us about how some students are identified as “disabled” and what can happen when expectations for students are set too low.

Gonzalez Makes it Official: She’s Running for Secretary of State

Back when she appeared on our live podcast in July, we asked Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez if she had her eyes on the secretary of state’s office. During her time in Sacramento, she’s pushed a number of voting reforms, often in partnership with the current secretary of state, Alex Padilla, who was just re-elected to a four-year term in 2018.

She said she was committed to running for re-election to the Assembly, “but yeah, I’ll probably run.”

On Monday, she removed the probably and announced she’d filed a statement of intention to run in 2022. She wrote in an email to supporters that she was starting early to lock down support for what would be a historic candidacy: “In California’s 169 year history, a Latina has never been elected to statewide office.”

There’s another advantage, as Capitol Public Radio’s Ben Adler noted on Twitter: it gives Gonzalez “the ability to raise the $7,800 maximum donation for statewide office — up from the $4,700 limit for #caleg races — while she presides over the powerful Assembly Appropriations Committee for the next four legislative sessions.”

County Agrees to Pay for Sewage Spill

San Diego County has agreed to pay nearly $700,000 for a pipeline rupture two years ago that dumped raw sewage into a San Diego River tributary.

In this week’s Environment Report, Ry Rivard writes about the 760,000 gallons of sewage that spilled into Los Coches Creek in February and March 2017.

There’s also new twists in the effort by states to avoid a doomsday on the Colorado River and details of the Pacific Gas & Electric bankruptcy that could affect how government-run mini-utilities get paid.

Faulconer Lays Out Plan to Welcome Immigrants

Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Monday laid out a five-year plan to welcome and better integrate newcomers from other countries.

The Union Tribune reports that Faulconer teamed with City Council President Georgette Gómez and other community leaders to unveil the list of 20 recommendations. The mayor said he wants to hire an immigrant affairs manager to implement the plan and coordinate existing efforts to aid migrants and refugees.

The Huffington Post noted the contrast between Faulconer, a Republican, who said Monday that immigrants help define San Diego, and President Donald Trump.

In Other News

  • San Diego Unified Trustee Kevin Beiser announced on Twitter that the board will reconsider its new policy requiring members of the public to wait until the end of district board meetings to discuss anything that doesn’t appear on the official board agenda. As Will Huntsberry recently reported, the change means that parents who want to air a concern that’s not on the agenda must “sit through hours of eye-glazing bureaucratic motions and process. Maybe they are trying to keep their child still in the seat. Maybe they are paying for childcare.”
  • SDSU officials met with Major League Soccerto discuss the possibility of a team playing in the new Aztec football stadium once it opens in 2022,” CSU Trustee Jack McGrory told 10News.
  • Vice has declared San Diego a “paradise for goths.”

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby.

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