Coronado High School / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

So much of the tensions and anguish surrounding the pandemic and education over the last year came as a result of facing unprecedented situations.

Kids were learning in completely new, largely inadequate way. Many didn’t have the resources they needed – computers, access to broadband, a comfortable place to do their work. Parents were having to juggle their own work and childcare in circumstances that were, quite, frankly, impossible.

That schools are on track to fully reopen in the fall is welcome, and wonderful.

But going back to school means returning to some of the problems that have long plagued the education system.

That, to me, was one of the biggest takeaways from the incident at Coronado High School last week, in which students flung tortillas at players from the largely Latino Orange Glen High School team: No matter how happy families might be to have sports and school back, we should keep fighting to fix the unacceptable realities that existed before the pandemic.

Parents from wealthy areas schools led the charge urging state and local leaders to reinstate school athletics throughout the pandemic – often cloaking their demands in concern for the most vulnerable students.

Parents from wealthy areas also expressed outrage at the onset of pandemic school closures last March, because officials chose to move to pass/no pass grades. Those parents argued that safeguarding their kids’ college prospects was more important than protecting the vulnerable students who might not have access to resources that would let them quickly resume learning from home.

It makes sense, then, that as schools began to reopen in the spring, that many students chose to remain at home – and might keep making that choice even as the pandemic ebbs.

Distance learning was a disaster for many families. But it’s also true that the parents most eager for their kids to return to school aren’t the ones afraid of having tortillas flung at their heads, or being subject to lopsided disciplinary measures or attending schools chronically deprived of leadership and resources.

A recent report that drove home the extent to which many Black families in Los Angeles felt online learning shielded their kids from bullying and racism came with a warning: “The only way to undo the damage of the pandemic is to dramatically reimagine how the public schools system serves its Black students.”

What VOSD Learned This Week

Cal State San Marcos officials’ decision not to fire a professor who harassed students has provoked some uncomfortable questions about what level of transparency schools owe to students and faculty.

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First, advocates of Measure B, the law to strengthen oversight of SDPD, were wary of the city’s foot-dragging in releasing the proposed ordinance. Then once it dropped, they flagged numerous concerns with the draft language. Now it’s being sent back to the drawing board.

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MTS is set to hire a new security firm, one that’s claimed it’s never had any use-of-force complaints against its workers. Some digging discovered that’s not exactly true.

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As San Diego updates its parks master plan, it’s trying to spread around the money developers pay to build parks and encourage them to build affordable housing near transit.

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On the podcast, we talked about the status of the Republican Party in San Diego, following the news that Jerry Sanders has left the party.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“As long as they exist in anything like their current form, police unions will condition their members to see themselves as soldiers at war with the public they are meant to serve, and above the laws they are meant to enforce.” – When Adam goes and distills eight years of reporting into one sentence.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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