Students work on a writer’s workshop assignment in Emily Murray’s elementary multi-age classroom at the San Diego Cooperative Charter Schools Mountain View campus. / Photo by Dustin Michelson

On average, charter school teachers have half as much experience as those in traditional public schools in San Diego Unified School District, according to a new data analysis by Voice of San Diego and the UC San Diego Extension Center for Research and Evaluation. 

The average charter teacher has 7.8 years of experience, while the average traditional public school teacher has 16.5, writes Will Huntsberry. 

A 2016 study by the Learning Policy Institute showed that teachers grow in effectiveness, as measured by their students’ test scores, even into their third decade of teaching. 

“Some people think once you have been a teacher two or three years, you plateau and after that it doesn’t matter,” said one researcher. “But, on average, teachers do improve over time.”

Charter schools typically have more leeway to hire and fire teachers than traditional public schools. Many advocates have argued this gives them the freedom to get rid of teachers who don’t perform well. 

However, in some cases charter schools will look to get rid of veteran teachers, not because they aren’t performing, but because they cost more money, acknowledged one charter school principal. 

High teacher turnover at schools is associated with poorer student performance, the researcher said. 

It Was a Big Year for San Diego Leaders in Sacramento …

On our latest podcast, Sara Libby, Andrew Keatts and Adriana Heldiz explain the big changes that are coming to California thanks to San Diego leaders in Sacramento. Three of those bills were inspired by our coverage. One limits sharing of state databases with federal immigration authorities, another clarifies the role of public health officials during a public health crisis, and the final cracks down on medical vaccine exemptions.

Now that another high-profile bill to limit police use of deadly force is a done deal, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber has another big issue in mind to tackle next: the complex and controversial system that doles out school funding. That funding, Weber told VOSD contributor Kelly Davis, is not transparent and not accomplishing its purpose of giving the neediest students a boost. 

… But Not Everyone Loves All Those Sacramento Accomplishments

AB 5, the landmark bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that limits the instances in which employers can label someone an independent contractor, was signed into law earlier this month. Done deal, right?

Well, the Twitter beefs are far from done. 

After the Hollywood Reporter published a piece in which freelance writers detail their continuing concerns with the bill, journalist Yashar Ali and others launched Twitter tirades against the measure, and against Gonzalez herself.

As you might imagine, it was totally reasonable and polite and not at all overdramatic. 

A sampling:

Inside a Surprising GOP Endorsement

Steve Vaus is the cowboy hat-wearing conservative mayor of Poway, and he’s known in political circles as a nice guy. But even he shocked members of the GOP last week when he effectively handed his party’s endorsement in the District 2 supervisor’s race to his opponent, former state Sen. Joel Anderson. 

We shed some light on that rare act in the Politics Report, and rounded up highlights from an environmental debate featuring Assemblyman Todd Gloria and City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, both of whom are running for San Diego mayor. They talked about retrofitting buildings, fixing park deficiencies in low-income neighborhoods and — duh — public transit as a means of reducing carbon emissions. 

Bry also explained her obsession with scooters. She criticized tech companies for trying to make “fast money” in local communities thanks to state legislation exempting riders from wearing helmets. 

“They are flimsy electric vehicles and people literally just get on them and then fall off for no reason,” she said. 

We’ve also started publishing podcast interviews with select March 2020 primary candidates. First up, Tasha Williamson, an activist who’s running for San Diego mayor. She promised to replace the police chief if elected and said the Democratic Party doesn’t do enough to lock arms with communities of color. 

Streetlight Surveillance Is Now a Campaign Issue

Earlier this year, Jesse Marx reported that some members of the San Diego City Council were unaware that the Police Department had been accessing footage captured by thousands of new streetlight cameras that were primarily sold to the public as a way to save energy costs.

City staff justified the decision by noting that the footage and other data would be maintained by a third party. There is a publicly available log showing which investigators had accessed the cameras, which were placed around the city in partnership with General Electric.

But as NBC 7 reports, the city’s contract with GE grants the company full rights to use video and audio from the streetlight cameras however it sees fit.

Cory Briggs, who’s running for city attorney, first brought the language in the contract to public attention last week in an op-ed for the Times of San Diego and blamed his opponent, City Attorney Mara Elliott, for not bringing it to the City Council’s attention in December 2016, when the streetlight program was approved. In response, Elliott’s office blamed her predecessor, Jan Goldsmith. 

Meanwhile, the Union-Tribune reports that a private company is marketing license plate readers to local homeowners associations. At least seven neighborhoods in San Diego County are setting up their own surveillance networks that collect information on passing cars. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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