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Roundtable Analyzes Debates, Fracking, Testing Violations In Chula Vista Schools

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Brown, Kashkari Square Off

Why would California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is some 16 points ahead of challenger Neel Kashkari, bother with debating Kashkari at all?

Both candidates met Thursday night, two months before the election, in what looks like their one-and-only debate.

The two clashed over how well, or even whether, the state was recovering from recession, the California business climate, high-speed rail, education and poverty.

In spite of stunts such as pretending to be homeless for a week, Kashkari, a former assistant U.S. Treasury secretary, is not very well known. He is, however, very short of cash — making it hard to become better known.

Kim, Cate Explain Positions

Whoever wins the District 6 seat on the San Diego City Council will begin a fledgling political career — both are relative newcomers — by having a big impact on the entire city.

A win by Chris Cate, a Republican and vice president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, would upend the City Council’s veto-proof majority. If Carol Kim, a former teacher, wins, the 6-3 majority would arguably stay intact. In any case, at the forum this week, both candidates seemed to agree on most issues.

BLM: Fracking in California Is OK

Fracking, or the extraction of oil and gas trapped in rock using high-pressure water, consumes acres of water and can spark earthquakes, a combination the Bureau of Land Management believes is OK in California.

The BLM said this week that, based on a study by the California Council on Science and technology, it will resume issuing oil- and gas-drilling leases for federal lands in the Golden State.

The study by the nonprofit, found no evidence of water contamination from fracking in California, but the authors noted they had little time and not much information on which to base conclusions.

In Pennsylvania it is believed that more than 200 water wells have been contaminated by fracking of the Marcellus shale bed. The Government Accountability Office reported that water contamination from fracking is a significant problem.

Chula Vista Elementary Ignores State Rules On Tests

Chula Vista Elementary School District gave a lot of tests last spring. For trial testing for Common Core and also a local assessment test, the district made no accommodations or modifications for dyslexic students, a violation of state law.

People with dyslexia do not process written information in the same way most of us do. Printed material can be very difficult to decipher.

Parents of students with these learning disabilities — perhaps as many as 17 percent of pupils — were told the district didn’t receive the Common Core material until a week before the test and told parents that children must be held accountable for their skill level. The district has given the local tests, however, for 15 years.

There are some political ramifications to testing data. Teachers’ unions say poor scores for students mean poor evaluations for teachers, who are currently in a labor dispute with the district.

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