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San Diego Students Get Their Feet Wet In Ocean Science And More Local News

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A team of researchers is helping San Diego County students get hands on experience in marine biology. Many of the students, who’ve never seen the ocean, only live 15 miles away from the beach. Plus, a border agent who specialized in asylum cases is speaking out about what he saw under the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" program. And, the first rain storm of the season is here and flash flood warnings are in effect. The worst of the storm is expected today, hear what you can do to prepare.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, November 20th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. The worst of two storms will hit San Diego County today and a team of researchers is helping San Diego County students get their feet wet in ocean science. Two out of three breasts of oxygen come from plants in the ocean and these kids in San Diego County should be at the ocean. That more coming up right after the break. Thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welsh. The second of two large rainstorms is headed our way. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says the entire County is expected to get hit with one to two inches by Thursday.

Speaker 2: 00:48 Since the start of the rainy season in October, San Diego hasn't seen any wet weather. National weather service meteorologist Alex tardy says this storm will bring a large amount of it.

Speaker 3: 00:57 We could see like one quarter of our annual rainfall from this one storm Wednesday as the tropical moisture emerges with the cold Pacific storm. That's pretty significant. Um, that's the type of winter it's going to be though. It's going to be all or nothing. Where will we see these potential wet patterns or we see prolonged periods of of no rain in mild conditions.

Speaker 2: 01:22 Places that are prone to flooding like mission Valley could see some overflows. Significant coastal flooding is not expected. The worst of the storm is expected all day Wednesday there is a flash flood watch in effect, Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 01:34 A former asylum officer has turned whistleblower after he was asked to send asylum seekers back to Mexico under the Trump administration's remained in Mexico program. KPBS reporter max [inaudible] tells us why the asylum officer is speaking out.

Speaker 2: 01:50 Douglas Stevens had only done five interviews with asylum seekers in the remain in Mexico program before he decided that it was breaking the law and resigned. His job was to interview asylum seekers about whether they could be safely returned to Mexico while their claims were processed. After interviewing migrants this summer, he says he realized that the system is rigged against them. Even if they had credible fears, they would still be sent back to Mexico because the standard for proving their fears is set too high.

Speaker 4: 02:16 The remaining Mexico program is clearly designed to prevent anyone from passing the interview. And I think by being forced back into Mexico, uh, it significantly impacts these individual's ability to gain any sort of protection in the United States.

Speaker 2: 02:32 Steven said the program is illegal and violates the oath of office that asylum officers take. Max Waveland, Adler, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 02:39 A recent report found that African American students in San Diego unified schools are half as likely to meet academic standards and more than twice as likely to be suspended than white students. KPBS education reporter Joe Hong attended a public meeting where students responded to the study.

Speaker 2: 02:57 Hundreds of students, families and educators filled the auditorium

Speaker 5: 03:00 at Morris high school on Monday. After researchers summarize their findings, student leaders responded. And DIA Griffin is a senior at San Diego, met high and cofounder of the district's black student union coalition. She said she found the report devastating, but sees student groups as part of the solution

Speaker 6: 03:16 as maybe the agent culturally responsive curriculum, attend black events and work on surface projects. We hope to unlit uplift San Diego's black community, um, and create lasting effects for generations to come.

Speaker 5: 03:28 San Diego unified said it will work to ensure all its educators are culturally responsive to the needs of black students. Joe Hong KPBS news

Speaker 1: 03:36 San Diego County held its annual truth act forum Tuesday at the County board of supervisors meeting. The forum is required by state law so the Sheriff's office can explain how it's worked with immigration and customs enforcement. Over the last year. KPB has reporter Prius Sri. There has more. In 2018, the San Diego Sheriff's department released more than 82,000 inmates, 266 to ice. Recently the department changed a few policies with ice and sheriff bill Gore says he's open to hearing recommendations from the public.

Speaker 5: 04:09 Perception is so important. If there's something we can do differently that changed the perception without impacting good public safety. I want to listen.

Speaker 1: 04:17 Activists from the San Diego immigrant rights consortium made seven demands for the Sheriff's department, including getting rid of a list of inmates pending release from the department's website. Pre assure either KPBS news. San Diego has 70 miles of coastline, but for many kids, the ocean isn't as easy to get to. As you might think. KPBS education reporter Joe Hong met up his scripts peer with some young students who see opportunities to study the ocean as a career.

Speaker 7: 04:45 No,

Speaker 5: 04:47 10 year old eight and novels is one of 40 or so students huddled in a circle on a cloudy day on a pier in LA Hoya. He's peering over shoulders to get a glimpse of the plankton caught by researchers. Aiden says he's wanting to be a veterinarian all his life, but he's never been interested in the animals that live in the ocean. That changed when he saw his first Tidepool.

Speaker 7: 05:06 I want to be a Fitch scenario. I let her know, and I'm not like to exotic animals or just maybe like household animals, dogs, cats, birds, stuff like that.

Speaker 5: 05:17 Aiden is a fifth grader at the steam Academy in spring Valley. He lives less than 15 miles from the shore and comes to the beach about once a year with his family. But today he and the other students touring the Scripps institution of oceanography are seeing the ocean through new eyes. What you see in there?

Speaker 7: 05:33 Oh, small. Really just sturdy water. Yeah. I see little tiny microscopic dirt on the ocean and like germs by growing

Speaker 5: 05:46 the students. Spend the day with researchers, teching plaintiff examining tidepools and looking through microscopes. By the end of the day Aiden's head is full of questions.

Speaker 7: 05:54 Okay. It's about how, how some animals live and how they grow and when they grow and like who environment they're in. It's like really interesting.

Speaker 5: 06:06 Students all over San Diego County are able to have this experience thanks to the league of extraordinary scientists and engineers. The nonprofit connects students from low income schools to scientists around the County lead CEO and founder. Jean Wong says studying the ocean shouldn't be just for the privilege.

Speaker 6: 06:22 Two out of three breasts of oxygen come from plants in the ocean and these kids in San Diego County should be at the ocean. And when you hear so often that these kids have never even been to the beach and they live in San Diego County, you know, we've all complained about it and we've all heard these stories. And so our organization leaders, ordinary scientists with J Craig Venter Institute and scripts and Sue to oceanography, wanted to address that directly and just bus the kids here.

Speaker 5: 06:48 The league reimburses school districts for the cost of busing students to the beach.

Speaker 6: 06:52 So in San Diego unified, for instance, a bus would be like $280 to get 54 kids to the beach. But if you're getting them from say, Poway, are you getting them from somewhere else? Right? You, Lissa, whatever. The buses can be anywhere from 600 to $1,000 per bus. That price tag in itself is screaming in equity.

Speaker 3: 07:13 What I'm going to have you guys do is I'm going to go ahead and write.

Speaker 5: 07:18 John Oren is Aiden's teacher at the steam Academy in spring Valley. He says, the class trip to scripts gave life to his lesson about ecosystems.

Speaker 3: 07:25 I think they were able to have a concrete connection with um, a lot of the items that we study. Um, being out touching the animals, um, being out on the pier, watching the scientists, um, bring up, uh, bring up their work like bringing up the plankton. Um, that was something that we weren't able to really deliver, uh, here at school

Speaker 5: 07:48 were in says before the league is cause field trips were limited to about a 10 mile radius. Jean Wong hopes that physically bring students to the shore is the first step in making the field of oceanography more accessible to students from historically disadvantaged communities.

Speaker 6: 08:02 Having different visions on science and especially oceanography, the biggest thing on our planet, right? We need more people from different backgrounds to see that, to study that and to share that information with each other.

Speaker 5: 08:16 Aiden says he might consider oceanography as a career. He plans to do more research at school, but now he knows that learning about it in the classroom just isn't enough.

Speaker 7: 08:24 I read about the ocean and like fish and plankton. You coming out here and makes you think it's like a whole different thing. Stories tell you one thing. This doesn't another, it's really cool. Kill

Speaker 1: 08:37 home. KPBS thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. For more KPB as podcasts go to kpbs.org/podcasts.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.