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San Marcos Elementary School / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

We often talk about the role of teacher retention in education. Students with experienced teachers tend to have better outcomes than their peers with less experienced teachers.

That’s exactly what has parents and community members worried at San Marcos Elementary. Nearly half of the teachers at the school this year are new to campus. Most are new to teaching altogether. 

The significant shakeup followed news in the spring that the school’s principal of 10 years, Stephanie Wallace, would be reassigned to a teaching position this school year. The campus’ new principal and assistant principal were brought in from San Diego High School — the same school the district’s new superintendent, Carmen Garcia, came from.

“We, as the community, want to know if Dr. Garcia is performing her due diligence and hiring only the most qualified people to serve our children, your students and our community,” said Hilda Oltean, a district parent who spoke at a school board meeting this week. “From the outside, the hiring practices of the superintendent appears to be nepotistic and personally biased. Firing practices seem flagrant.”

Garcia told VOSD’s Ashly McGlone that parents should not be concerned about the turnover at San Marcos, nor the fact that many of the new hires are first-time teachers. 

Correction: An earlier version of the story misidentified Oltean as a San Marcos Elementary parent; her children attend another district school.

American Bar Association Brings the Hammer Down on Thomas Jefferson Law School

It’s official: Thomas Jefferson School of Law is losing its national accreditation.

We reported earlier this year that the American Bar Association voted to remove Thomas Jefferson’s accreditation following concerns about its finances, admissions practices and academic program. The school appealed, but now that decision is final. 

The San Diego institution will continue for now under accreditation from the State Bar of California, which has some limits.

“The biggest benefit of ABA accreditation for law schools is that their graduates are eligible to take the bar exam nationwide,” reports Lyle Moran, “while graduates from state-accredited schools must fulfill additional requirements to take licensing exams outside of California.”

In addition to its financial concerns, the school’s graduates have also struggled to pass the bar exam and secure legal jobs. Just 25 percent of the school’s first-time test-takers passed the July 2018 California bar exam, the lowest percentage among the state’s 21 ABA-accredited schools.

How to Choose a School in 10 Days

Thousands of families in districts across San Diego County submit school choice applications each year. The option allows parents to enroll their child in a school other than the neighborhood school they’re assigned to.

But just because you apply, doesn’t mean you’ll get in. And the process can be more difficult than you’d imagine.

This week on the Good Schools for All podcast, we hear from Bonnie Taylor, a San Diego mom who discovered school choice just two weeks before the deadline. She tells us how she navigated choosing a school, including what advice she has for parents who may be going through the process now.

Programming note: We’re working on our next podcast episode about school safety and active shooter drills, and we’d love to hear your stories.

If you’re a parent, a student or a teacher who has any kind of experience these, please reach out. You can call and leave a voicemail telling us your story at (619) 354-1085, or email our digital manager, Nate John, at

Oh, You Thought We Were Done With Education Stories?

Less than a year into Gov. Gavin Newsom’s term, a variety of early childhood support programs have been outlined in the state budget. There’s more money for child care, and subsidized slots for preschools have increased, as well as opportunities for teacher training.

But universal preschool, one of Newsom’s top priorities, is still far from reality.

In a new edition of the Learning Curve, we dive into some recent legislative efforts that unsuccessfully tried to bolster early education spending, and one bill that could potentially make changes next year. (VOSD intern Jack Molmud wrote this week’s newsletter, and he did a great job. Give it a read.)

In Other News

  • This is … quite a read about the Chargers’ arranged marriage with the Rams in Los Angeles. (ESPN)
  • A group of journalists have sued the U.S. government alleging border authorities violated their First Amendment rights by inspecting their equipment and questioning them extensively about their coverage of last year’s migrant caravan. (Associated Press)
  • Bradley Fikes, a science journalist described by his Union-Tribune colleagues in a lovely obituary as “part Doctor Doolittle, part Inspector Gadget” and a “slightly mellower answer to Hunter S. Thompson,”  died this week. 

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.

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