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t starts before kindergarten, some experts say. Then it worsens as students move through their academic careers from middle school and eventually high school. It’s influenced by how much money your parents make, where you

live and whether or not your teacher has a high expectation that you can learn, or instead, shows bias. If you’re on free or reduced lunch, that matters. If your parents are non-English speakers, that is a factor. By some counts, there are more than a dozen variables that contribute to the achievement gap in education including parent involvement and school resources. But chief among them is the intersection of race and poverty. Though the valley is known as a resort destination and music festival mecca to outsiders, high poverty rates and large percentages of English Learners often place students at an academic disadvantage, even before they start kindergarten. In Please see EDUCATION, 6A

How many birds are killed by solar farms? HI 105°

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A great blue heron takes flight from Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge at the Salton Sea. The lake is considered a critical stopover along the Pacific Flyway for many migrating birds.

already operating in Riverside County. “I believe the California numbers — there are up to 183 species of birds killed on these solar projects, and over 3,500 individuals. And those are just Please see BIRDS, 16A

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During a meeting at Palm Springs City Hall in June, public commenters tore into the Palen solar farm, which would be built on 4,200 acres of public land just south of Joshua Tree National Park. One of their main complaints: The vast field of solar panels — which would generate enough electricity to power 230,000 average California homes, according to its developer — would kill birds. “We do know that (solar) photovoltaic projects kill birds, especially ones in these Colorado River flyways. There are a lot of numbers now available from Desert Sunlight, Blythe, McCoy,” said Kevin Emmerich, cofounder of the environmental group Basin and Range Watch, referring to large solar farms

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