Ep. 06 | Public School Funding in the COVID-19 Era, Part 2

A collapsed tax base. A state shortfall of $54 billion. New investments to accommodate social distancing. What does it all mean for school budgets?

In this second look at our public school budgets during the COVID-19 downturn, Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares reaches out to Dr. Molly McGee Hewitt, CEO and executive director of the California Association of School Business Officials, to discuss the latest budget developments and projections for the years ahead. 

Produced by the Orange County Department of Education

Ep. 05 | Public School Funding in the COVID-19 Era, Part 1

What started as a mysterious illness on the other side of the world quickly turned into a global pandemic that’s altered nearly every aspect of life. And it’s caused an economic shock that could have major consequences for public schools across California. 

In this episode, OC Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Al Mijares, talks with Mike Fine, CEO of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), who shares his insight on how the COVID-19 downturn will affect K-12 budgets  — and whether there are any bright spots in the financial forecast. 

Produced by the Orange County Department of Education

Ep. 04 | Bilingual Education

Is fluency in more than one language a recipe for success in the 21st Century?   Across America, we are seeing a resurgence of bilingual education at an early age. Parents and educators are embracing the idea of our next generation growing up as multilingual, and multi-literate citizens in the world.  Here in Orange County,  California, we have some of the most exciting and innovative bilingual programs in the nation.

In this episode, OC Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Al Mijares, delves into the topic of bilingual education.   We take a look at the wild history of bilingual education in California, and what lessons we can learn from it.  Then, through the lens of some of Orange County’s exemplary bilingual programs, we’ll ask:  what does it look like in our public schools?  What are students, teachers, and parents taking away from these programs?  How can being multilingual and multiliterate improve both future opportunities for students and our society as a whole?

Produced by the Orange County Department of Education

Ep. 04- Transcript


Ep. 03 | Exploring Kindness

Why have societies historically placed a premium on kindness? How do human connections impact our physiology? Why do we keep needing to remind ourselves to be kind? And what would happen if an entire county were to embrace kindness?

These are some of the questions posed by Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares in the latest edition of The Deeper Learning Podcast.

In this first episode of 2018, Dr. Mijares takes listeners on a quest to learn more about kindness, reaching out to a number of prominent figures including neurosurgeon and author Dr. James Doty, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, California State PTA President-elect Celia Jaffe and others.

Produced by the Orange County Department of Education

Ep 03- Transcript


Ep. 02 | Aki’s Story: On Relocation and Resilience

Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942, authorizing the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. In this edition of The Deeper Learning Podcast, we take a look at how this order connected the Mendez and Munemitsu families.

In our last episode, we learned how Sylvia Mendez and her family challenged school segregation in Orange County, Calif. Aki’s story serves as a prequel to the Mendez case, and it illustrates how the Munemitsu family — one of thousands to be relocated to internment camps during the war — persevered, rebuilt their lives and went on to make extraordinary contributions to American society through resilience, education and generosity.

Produced by the Orange County Department of Education and hosted by Chief Academic Officer Jeff  Hittenberger.

Ep. 02-Transcript


Conkling, W. (2011). Sylvia and Aki.  New York, NY: Yearling.

Dempster, B. K., (Ed.). (2011). Making Home from War. Berkeley, CA: Heyday.

George S., & Haider, C. F. (2009). Sowing Dreams, Cultivating Lives: Nikkei Farmers in Pre-World War II Orange County.  Fullerton, California: Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.

Ina, S.  (1999). Children of the Camps. [Documentary]. (Available from Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Children-Camps-Howard-Ikemoto/dp/B00BYCWIQ2).

Oppenheim, J. (2006). Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Shigekawa, M. (Executive Producer). (2017). For the Sake of the Children. [Documentary]. (Information about availability and screening at http://www.forthesakeofchildren.org/).

Urashima, M.F.A. (2014). Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach. Charleston, SC: The History Press.

Wakatsuki Houston, J., & Houston, J.D. (1973). Farewell to Manzanar. New York, NY: Houghton-Mifflin.

Wegland, M.N. (1996).  Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps.  Seattle: University of Washington Press.

See also:

Densho.org, A website offering extraordinary resources of oral history and information regarding the internment experiences of Japanese-Americans.

Japanese-American National Museum.  This extraordinary museum in Los Angeles currently hosts an original copy of Executive Order 9066, with FDR’s signature.  See http://www.janm.org/.


Ep. 01 | Mendez v. Westminster

Hosted by Jeff Hittenberger, chief academic officer for the Orange County Department of Education, the first episode of the Deeper Learning Podcast centers on a profoundly significant court case that’s probably unfamiliar to most Americans. Mendez v. Westminster shattered many of the legal justifications for segregating public schools and laid the foundation for the famous Brown v. Board of Education decision. And it all started with one family from Orange County, Calif.

Produced by the Orange County Department of Education

Ep. 01 Transcript


Bernstein, S. (2011). Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Strum, P. (2010). Mendez v Westminster: School Desegregation and Mexican-American Rights. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Tonatiuh, D. (2014). Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation. New York: Abrams.

Wenkart, R. D. (2016). Mendez v. Westminster School District. Inquiry and Analysis, December 2016.

Mendez v. Westminster painting (image) was commissioned by Justice Eileen Moore for the California Court of Appeals, Fourth District. It was created by students from the Orange County Department of Education’s Alternative, Community, and Correctional Schools and Services (ACCESS), Otto A. Fischer School. Teachers: Ruth Rosen and Sam Lightbody.  Student artists: Andrew K., Kaylee F., Jose C., Abraham V., Stacy Lynn R., and Juan G.

Ep. 00 | Introduction


Welcome to the Deeper Learning Podcast.

This is a podcast for people who want to think about life, learning, and education at a deeper level.  In each episode, you’ll hear stories about people who have pursued and experienced deeper learning in their lives.

Produced by the Orange County Department of Education

Introduction Transcript