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Average Test Scores Improve For San Diego Unified, But Some Achievement Gaps Widen And More Local News

 October 16, 2019 at 2:47 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, October 16th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. San Diego unified students are doing better over all each year on standardized tests, but some gaps between schools have widened and to look at site specific work as part of LA Jolla Playhouse as wow. Festival theater generally has a lot of rules. You sit in a dark room, you turn your phones off, you don't talk that more coming up right after the break. Thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welsh, San Diego unified school district. Students are doing better overall each year on standardized tests, meeting County and state averages, but KPBS education reporter Joe Hong says some gaps between schools have widened Speaker 2: 00:52 2019 standardized test scores released last week. Paint a positive picture for San Diego unified. Some schools like Benito Juarez elementary and Serra Mesa reached historic highs in both math and English. Principal Helen Toko says the teachers focus on building relationships has been key. Speaker 3: 01:09 The teachers are extremely committed to the students. I can say from day one. Uh, they're, they're establishing relationships with the students in a positive manner. However, there's an academic focus, our, from the very beginning, Speaker 2: 01:20 that's the good news, but there's a widening achievement gap between some schools since 2015 students test scores in math at Lincoln high have dropped while those that Scripps ranch high have gone up. Luke wood is a professor of education at San Diego state university. He says the district needs to address these gaps immediately. Speaker 3: 01:37 The progress shows that things are working and can go better for some groups, but the fact that those gaps are widening shows that they're having challenges, Speaker 2: 01:44 but would says the school's test scores aren't the full picture. He says above all, parents should choose a school where their children feel welcomed and safe. Joe Hong K PBS news Speaker 1: 01:53 in San Diego's North park teens are getting a course in urban farming along with a small stipend and a bus pass. KPBS speaks city Heights reporter Ebony Monet explains how the program also wants to Harv as confidence and life skills. Speaker 3: 02:09 On 30th street near university, you'll find youth farm, a garden growing organic produce like men and kale. It's tucked between traffic and the nearly 100 year old st Luke's Episcopal church. IRC program director, Angie Mays says more important than the pruning and planting. The farm teaches interpersonal skills. Speaker 1: 02:27 Our target population has some of the greatest barriers to success, which is a lot of internal confidence and feeling that they can succeed. Speaker 3: 02:39 Farm works in cafe opens its Gates on Thursdays and Saturdays to sell what they've grown. Ebony Monet K PBS news, Speaker 1: 02:46 the San Diego Italian film festival kicked off, it's 13 year last night at MOBA KPBS film critic Beth luck. Amando previews the festival with its new executive director Deanna Agis Dini and director Antonio Ionata, San Diego, Italian film festivals, new executive director, Deana Augustini wants to remind people that technically the organization is the Italian American arts and culture association of San Diego. That means there's a strong cultural component to the festivals. Programming, bring, bringing movies that also speak to the communities that open up dialogue, that are meaningful in bringing our perspective and that of the Italian perspective being, you know, even from a simple comedy too and more a structured drama or documentary artistic director, Antonio Ian Nota gives the festival it's cinematic vision with an emphasis on highlighting the best contemporary Italian films this year. He's excited about a new shorts program called Italy exported. So we're going to have a for the first time, uh, and evening, fully dedicated to shore and we're, I'm fortunate enough to have also three directors in attendance. Speaker 1: 03:57 And so we're going to talk with them and with our audience, uh, about feed miles. San Diego Italian film festival makes a point of having post film discussions and putting films into a context. The festival runs through October 27th at the museum of photographic arts. Beth, like Amando, KPBS news, San Diego County supervisors voted Tuesday to ban sales of vaping products and unincorporated areas. KPBS reporter Taryn Minto says the officials approve the measure three to two. The band will temporarily halt sales of vaping devices and permanently bar flavored nicotine. The move comes amid growing rates of teen vaping and hundreds of vaping related lung illnesses across the U S including more than two dozen deaths. Supervisor Kristin gas bar opposed the measure. She said the policy affects adult users while overlooking online retailers that sell to kids. Well, I'm sure there are still kids out there who go to a corner store that does not have a thorough ID check. Most kids go on their phones. How do I know this? Ask them. San Diego county's top public health officers spoke in support of the move. County staff will draft the ordinance and return with final language for board approval. Taryn mento KPBS news. Federal officials say more than 14 billion gallons of sewage tainted water spilled across the us Mexico border between Sunday and Monday. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson has details. Speaker 4: 05:23 The international boundary and water commission says the spill started around 9:00 PM Sunday night and continued until 8:00 PM Monday evening. The transboundary flows included untreated and treated sewage. Mexican officials say cleanup crews found a body trapped inside the intake screens of a major pump station that routes sewage South away from the border and investigation and removal of the body took almost two days preventing the pump station from operating. U S officials say the transboundary flows were contained on international boundary and water property Speaker 1: 05:58 on the U S side of the border. Eric Anderson KPBS news, the LA Jolla Playhouse kicks off another without walls or wow festival tomorrow. It showcases 22 site-specific works at Liberty station through the weekend. There are local as well as international companies. KPBS arts reporter Beth lycomato speaks with Blake McCardy of blind spot collective that is presenting hall pass Speaker 4: 06:24 like you're with blindspot collective and you are participating in without walls this year. So tell me about what your production is going to be at this event. Blind spot collective is producing a immersive musical titled hall pass. Hall pass was originally commissioned in 2015 by New York university and it's only other professional production was actually in New York city for the inaugural future of storytelling festival. And the whole show takes place in a high school. So the audience traverses the halls and classrooms and bathrooms of a high school because at any given moment during the show, there are five things happening simultaneously and in many ways the audience chooses their own adventure and receives a class schedule at the beginning of the performance from which they are choosing the things they will see and those things don't repeat. So it is impossible to see everything that's in the show in a single performance because it has a cast of over 60 performers and 24 different playwrights and composers, each of whom contributed a single short play or musical, all of which are about high school and about what high school might be like in 2019 so we're here at Liberty station and you might've heard the plane going overhead without walls is site specific. Speaker 4: 07:51 So are you tapping into anything that is here or are you having to play with issues like the airplanes? So our entire performance will unfold at high tech, high in the high school at high tech high. And so we are responding completely and entirely to the architecture and the environment that is on that campus. So we will be moving into the venue this weekend and spacing and creating things specifically for each room, each hallway, each nook and cranny of the school that's being used as part of the performance. Luckily I think high tech high is just far enough that it's not quite as loud for the passing airplanes, but certainly it's something that we'll be adapting to. But for us it's a really exciting challenge to move into that venue with a large team of professional artists and really inhabit that space and allow audiences to explore that space organically. Speaker 4: 08:50 And what would you tell audiences who have never sampled a wow festival? What would you tell them to entice them to come or to give them a sense of what they might expect? Part of our goal with this show is really to potentially engage an audience that otherwise might not attend. Traditional theater. Theater generally has a lot of rules. You sit in a dark room, you turn your phones off, you don't talk, you clap. When it's over. An immersive theater and site responsive theater, a lot of those rules get thrown out the window. And in many ways the audience gets to engage in material in a very different way that has fewer rules, fewer structures, and really relies on the audience's participation and their investment and engagement in the work. And so for us, I think it's a, it's an exciting opportunity for an audience to really choose their own adventure for the audience to have choice and agency to actually craft their own experience. Because over the course of the show, an audience member could see musicals, could only see plays, they could see things that are only comical or see things that have more gravitas. And really it's entirely up to them to actually choose what it is they want to see and how it is they want to engage with those pieces. All right. Well thank you very much. Yeah. Thank you. Speaker 1: 10:16 LA Jolla Playhouse is without walls or well festival begins tomorrow and ruins through October 20th at Liberty station. Be listening tomorrow for part two of Beth's wow. Coverage. The San Diego County Republicans are not endorsing any of their four party candidates in the 50th congressional district race. That includes incumbent like on Hutter, who's been indicted for misusing campaign funds on the democratic side. Hunter's opponent in 2018 [inaudible] will run again in 2020. Tony Kovacik is chairman of the county's Republican party. He says the 49 members of the party committee could not reach the two thirds majority. They needed to make an endorsement. KPBS reporter Prius there spoke with him about what that means for the race. So now what happens now Speaker 5: 11:04 the party is not going to have a, a preferred candidate and whoever makes it out of the runoff against the socialist will, um, become our default a nominee. Speaker 1: 11:16 Is this the first time and the history of the San Diego County Republicans that there hasn't been an endorsement? Speaker 5: 11:23 No. No, it hasn't. Uh, most of the time the reason endorsement because the committee really wants to, uh, get to an endorsement. They in this top two primary assistant that we have, uh, we run the risk of having Democrats determining which Republican can get into the, uh, the top two by so they can vote for a weaker Republican, if you will, or their preferred Republican try to game the system. Or you could have the, the, the, uh, risk where two Democrats make it into the runoff. Unlikely. But it certainly has happened. Uh, and then Republicans get shut out completely. So if Republicans don't know who the endorsed candidate is and they just spread their votes and there are only two Democrats in there, four, five or six Republicans, it could happen with two Democrats have, uh, get into the runoff and Republicans have nobody. So why do you think it wasn't, you weren't able to get that to them? All four made a credible, strong path and strong case to make. And as a result, uh, that was a decision of the committee. Uh, can you tell us how the votes were broken down? Did you think? I have to ask the question? No, no. The, the, the uh, this is all in closed session. And so the only thing we report out is that, uh, uh, the actual results for, you know, endorsement or non endorsement, Speaker 6: 12:37 um, are you worried at all the fact that you know, you weren't able to get the two thirds majority that that could somehow trickle down into the actual election and make it so that, that there could be internal politics that could then help, can punish our, Speaker 5: 12:53 I think, uh, on the Democrat side you have one candidate, um, who people are coalescing around that candidate will not support president Trump that pres, that candidate will vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker. Um, any of the other candidates, uh, will not. And that district, uh, is one of the most Republican districts. Uh, I think president Trump wanted by 15 points last time. So, uh, there, the district will vote for president Trump again and they will also vote for the representative that supports the president. Speaker 6: 13:25 And you know, Dunkin Hunter pointed this out a lot yesterday when he said that, you know, only seven seats are still being held by Republicans in the state of California, only two of them, South of Los Angeles. Um, you know, including his obviously. So this is a pretty critical seat for the Republican party. Um, I guess if you could just talk about, you know, why, uh, this is so key for, for the future of the party in the state of California. Speaker 5: 13:49 Well, we need to have a Republican voice in Washington representing us down here and we don't have, you know, we have, um, the current Democrats on here, they cleared the, have no traction with the white house. So if San Diego's gonna get anything done, we need somebody to be able to carry that to the white house and also represent the, you know, hundreds of thousands of Republicans that live here. Speaker 6: 14:09 A lot of people say that part of the reason that Amar was able to get so much traction in the last election was because of Dunkin hunters, you know, criminal issues that he's dealing with right now. Are you worried at all about that potentially happening again? Speaker 5: 14:22 The good thing is this'll be settled by a January. I think the final now postponement and all the legal procedures are that there's a court date in mid January and that's going to take two, three weeks. Ballots start in in early February so we should know and the electorate will know one way or the other. And so, um, we'll have four candidates there and obviously if, if it doesn't go, uh, the Congressman his way then Speaker 1: 14:52 kind of sort itself out. KPBS reporter Prius either spoke with chairman of the San Diego County Republican party, Tony Cavarretta, the union Tribune reported having a picture that showed that former San Diego Councilman Karl de Mio received 21 of the 49 votes. Duncan Hunter and state assemblyman Brian Jones received 14 votes. Each and former Congressman Darrel Eissa received none. Kolarik wouldn't confirm the numbers, but said there were four rounds of voting and any single tally was just a snapshot of what happened. Thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. If you'd like the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

San Diego Unified School District's students are doing better overall each year on standardized tests, beating county and state averages, but some gaps between schools have widened. Plus, the 50th Congressional District is one of the most closely watched races in San Diego County but the county Republicans failed to get the two-thirds majority they needed to officially endorse a candidate, including embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter. Also on today’s podcast, in San Diego's North Park, teens are getting a course in urban farming, along with a small stipend and a bus pass. Hear how the program also teaches kids to harvest confidence and life skills. And, discover what it means to do site specific work as part of La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls or WOW festival.