The Morning Report
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One of the most gratifying things that can happen to a journalist is when your work sparks some sort of change or solution.
Earlier this year, we were heartened to see Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez propose a reform to the way sexual harassment and misconduct complaints are addressed within schools. This week, though, we got word the proposal has fallen apart for now, and will be extended to a two-year bill to give stakeholders more time to hash out issues.
Another bill in the Legislature that would address the biggest problem our reporting on schools has uncovered — the lack of information-sharing between schools that allows predators to move from job to job — is essentially DOA. It died a quick death in the Legislature last year, too.
The struggles of those bills are not the exception, but the rule.
Ask Assemblywoman Shirley Weber how hard it is to pass any type of reform involving education in California. Her bills to reform teacher tenure and school accountability systems have been continually beaten back by teachers unions, which are perhaps more powerful than ever.
Politico noted in a new piece this weekend that “backed by powerful teachers unions, Democrats are pushing to ban Teach For America from California.”
And as Will Huntsberry noted in this week’s Learning Curve column, Sen. Kamala Harris’ plan to provide pay incentives for teachers who choose to teach in struggling schools could meet particular pushback here in California: “California teacher’s unions have historically been in favor of raises. They have not been in favor of providing extra pay to keep teachers in the most underserved schools.”
It’s increasingly clear that while California may be led almost exclusively by Democrats, there is more tension and disagreement than ever on the left over how to ensure schools are equitable and accountable.
What VOSD Learned This Week
When San Diego Unified announced it was moving Serra High principal Vincent Mays to a districtwide role in 2016, it said it was so that they could scale out his unique talents. Turns out, a district investigation had determined he engaged in quid pro quo sexual harassment. The district then paid Mays not to work for more than a year – and lied about that fact when we asked about his employment status in 2018.
Sweetwater Union High School District also ended up paying dearly because of a problem educator. VOSD’s Kayla Jimenez is the first to report that the district agreed to pay more than $2 million to a student abused by a former ROTC instructor after the district failed to inquire about his background before hiring him. He’s also been accused of sexual misconduct at Coronado Unified.
Let’s take a spin through city efforts past, present and future.
Past: When redevelopment died, San Diego insisted the system must live on somehow, so it created Civic San Diego. The entity never really found its identity, and now it’s been stripped of most of its powers.
Present: As the city moves forward with its plans to build the PureWater project, it’s finally saying how much customers can expect to see added to their bills as a result of the effort.
Future: The mayor’s effort to raise hotel taxes to fund a Convention Center expansion has hit its eleventy-billionth hurdle.
Councilman Chris Ward laid out his concerns with the mayor’s plan on the latest episode of the podcast.
Maya Srikrishnan and Lisa Halverstadt broke the news this week that the county has filed suit against the Trump administration for ending its “safe release” program and forcing local governments and nonprofits to scramble to shelter asylum-seekers. Halverstadt spoke to several legal experts who believe the county has a strong case.
What I’m Reading
- The Washington Post had the story of “60 Minutes” head Jeff Fager’s history of sexual misconduct nailed down months before the New Yorker broke the story. They decided not to publish it. The astonishing story of how that decision was made reinforces the extent to which powerful men can marshal resources and influence to protect themselves.
- Disney keeps using science as a substitute for its young female leads actually having a personality. (Polygon)
- This is a great investigative find that shows there are plenty more college admissions scandals out there: A Harvard fencing coach sold his house for twice what it was worth to a buyer whose son coincidentally, miraculously got into Harvard and joined the team. (Boston Globe)
- YouTube prioritized viewership and let abusive content run wild. (Bloomberg)
- There have been so many heartbreaking reflections on Nipsey Hussle’s senseless death. This one, focusing on the plight of survivors, especially resonated. (Shondaland)
- If women candidates were treated like their male peers, it’d be common knowledge that Kirsten Gillibrand runs marathons, Elizabeth Warren was a high school debate champ and Amy Klobuchar often outperformed her law school classmate James Comey. (Vogue)
Line of the Week
“I may be a woman who can confidently admit that I love beans, but what I truly long to be is a woman who can confidently proclaim, ‘Everything about a bean is fashionable!’” – Move over kale salads and cauliflower pizza crusts; beans are the hot new health food.