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Tweet City Heights: NFL Honors School Success, State Could Soon

By Megan Burks

Hoover High Teacher Compared to The Blind Side’s Sandra Bullock
Former Chargers and Philidelphia Eagles player Burt Grossman was named the NFL Teacher of the Year last month for his work with at-risk teens at Hoover High School.

The Union-Tribune has a story on Grossman’s journey from a tough neighborhood, to the football field, to the classroom where he’s been teaching life skills for about a year.

This week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette picked up the story, comparing Grossman to Sandra Bullock’s character in “The Blind Side,” a 2009 film about the woman who adopted Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher as a teen.

Grossman took Hoover student Dame Ndiaye out of a homeless shelter and into his home. Ndiaye, who earned a football scholarship to the University of Arizona this year, told the Post-Gazette “not even Leonardo DiCaprio could do Grossman justice on the big screen.”

“I don’t know where I’d be without him,” he said. “Whenever I needed anything, he was always there for me.”

Follow San Diego Union-Tribune Metro reporter Nathan Max @natemax.

Adding Affordable Housing to the Redevelopment Debate
Last week on Twitter, I asked whether Gov. Jerry Brown’s near-elimination of redevelopment agencies was a fair trade for the influx of dollars it could mean for city schools.

This week, I tweeted a link to a KPBS Midday Edition interview with the Derek Danziger of the Centre City Development Corporation and Susan Tinsky of the San Diego Housing Federation. The pair discussed what the move means for redevelopment projects, schools and—something we didn’t consider last week—affordable housing.

Danziger said San Diego schools would certainly benefit from the redirected property tax dollars, but that communities shouldn’t forget the impact redevelopment has on basic infrastructure like sidewalks and on job creation.

Tinsky added that redevelopment agencies have been one of the main sources of revenue for affordable housing projects. Twenty percent of redevelopment funds must go toward low-cost units. Major funding from Props 46 and 1C is also dying, Tinsky said.

What do you think? With affordable housing thrown into the mix, how do you feel about the governor’s move?

Follow the San Diego Housing Federation @sdhfexec. Follow KPBS @KPBSNews and @KPBSMidday. Listen to Midday Edition weekdays at noon on 89.5 FM.

In City Heights, International News Is Local News
I’ve been urging followers this week to tune into Public Radio International’s The World weekdays at 2 p.m. on 89.5 FM. The program consistently features stories out of countries from which many City Heights residents emigrated.

This week, The World interviewed Lisa Shannon, an activist who started rape hotline for Somali women. She details the plight of women who live in fear of Somalia’s al-Shabab insurgents.

Plaguing Somalis of all genders is a drought that’s sending many across the desert to seek aid. The World talked with Anne Mawathe about the experience of new arrivals to a refugee camp in Kenya. Many arrive expecting immediate relief, but it could take up to 12 days to get shelter and a meal, Mawathe said.

Also heard on the program were pieces about Southern Sudan independence and a U.S. program that helps refugees hunt for jobs.

Follow PRI’s The World @pritheworld and tune in weekdays at 2 p.m. on 89.5 FM.

State Could Deemphasize Test Scores
I retweeted a story shared by voiceofsandiego.org’s Emily Alpert about state legislation that could diminish the role standardized tests play in ranking schools.

Senate bills 547, 611 and 612 would replace the Academic Performance Index (API), which uses only test scores to rate school performance, with the Education Quality Index (EQI). The new scale would limit exams to just 40 percent of the equation and add measures such as graduation rates and college placement.

The move could be good news in City Heights, where language and economic barriers keep test scores low. Educators there often champion qualitative successes, like helping students become first-generation college students.

Follow Emily Alpert @emilyschoolsyou.

Don’t want to wait until Friday for your Twitter news? Follow us @spkcityheights.


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