Great School Voices’ Oakland Education Preview- Week of 8/21

Our regular look at upcoming educational events in Oakland and regionally.  This week, OUSD’s first day of school, OUSD and County Board meetings, free video game programming class for kids and more.  If you have an event you would like to include please email me.

8/21 OUSD first day of classes New Superintendent To Take Part in Events During Tour of District – The first day of classes in Oakland Unified School District’s 2017-18 school year is Monday, August 21 and new Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell will be touring the District to meet with students, staff and families, take in the eclipse with students and take part in several exciting events, including a visit to Oakland’s newest school, Oakland School of Language (SOL).

8/22 Alameda County Office of Education board meets at 6:30, you can see the board agenda here, it is noticed as a Closed Session meeting looking at interdistrict transfer appeals.

8/23-OUSD has a board meeting.  The agenda for the meeting is here.  Check out GO’s Board watch for more detail on the meeting content, but some items of note are enrollment stabilization and also some fiscal health reporting.

8/26- Scratch Video Game Programming for KidsOakland’s video game museum, the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has 10am to 11:30am Saturday morning game programming classes for kids. No previous experience is needed. Kids use the free Scratch programming tool (which you can check out at ) to create a simple game project. The minimum participation age is 9, and the usual age range is 10 to 15 years old.

Every Wednesday Free Haircuts with Good Grades  Beast Mode, 811 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607.  Marshawn Lynch is rewarding students’ academic success with free haircuts.  Anyone from kindergarten to 12th grade can receive a cut for no charge on Wednesdays by bringing a report card. To view an article concerning it, click here.

 Further out

September is Attendance Awareness Month. This year’s theme is Engagement = Attendance to emphasize the important role that everyone can play in creating a welcome and engaging school environment that motivates students and families to come to school every day. Teachers and school staff can access a wealth of tools and information at the Attendance Works, including the Count Us In! Toolkitfree webinars, and a way to sharehow their organization or school community will be participating.

From September 5th to 12th, the documentary film Most Likely To Succeed will screen worldwide. Audiences can watch via free online broadcast, schools and community hosts can screen the film at no charge, and anyone can pre-order a copy of the film for their class, library, school system, or community. In addition, virtual panels and Q&As will be hosted with experts from the film and other thought leaders in 21st century education. Throughout the week, organizers will also feature stories of the film’s impact in classrooms across the country, and share new, easy ways to experiment with innovation in your schools. To get more information on how to participate–including how to sign-up to host a screening–complete this sign up form.

9/9Sanctuary schools conference- Bringing Sanctuary to the Classroom is a convening by Oakland educators, for Oakland educators who are prepared to stand up for our families and empower our students to be allies for each other.  This event will include: Keynote Speaker: Artist Favianna Rodriguez, Sat, September 9, 2017, 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM PDT Add to Calendar LOCATION-Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, CA 94607

9/9Great Oakland Public Schools Block Party— GO Oakland will be hosting its first Block Party on September 9th from 1pm to 4pm at the 100 Block of Linden Street in Oakland. The event will feature food from local vendors, drinks, great music, and kid-friendly activities. In addition, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell will share some of her priorities for the years ahead.

9/21Charter School Board Member Training on Brown Act and Conflict of Interest laws
OFQS and Urban Montessori Charter School are co-hosting a charter board member training on the Brown Act and Conflict of Interest laws. Please RSVP to UMCS’ Board Chair, Greg Klein, at [email protected] if you plan to attend.  September 21st from 5:00-7:00pm
Urban Montessori Charter School – Monarch Butterfly Library, 5328 Brann Street, Oakland, CA 94619

9/23Oakland Public Education Fund Gala-:

Sign up for school work days with the Ed Fund:

School Volunteer Fair: and flyer attached

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A Parent’s Guide To Cyberbullying; What It Is and What You Can Do

by Laura Pearson

Back when you were a child, bullying certainly existed. There was always a kid or two who seemed to thrive on making others feel unsafe or powerless. These days, that kind of bullying still exists — but now it’s moved online as well. Your children may be facing cyberbullying without ever hearing about it. And while the harassment may be virtual the damage can be very real.

If you want to help protect your children from this, you first need to know what exactly cyberbullying is.

Signs Of Cyberbullying

There are many ways to define cyberbullying, but the Cyberbullying Research Center has a great definition. It’s the willful and repeated harm inflicted through computers, phones, and online. In many ways, that’s what regular bullying does. But by moving the harassment online, it’s much harder to escape.

How do you know if your children are subject to cyberbullying? has a list of cyberbullying signs:

  • Getting upset while on the phone or online.
  • Trying to hide what’s going on with their digital life.
  • Acting out and worse performance at school.
  • Being nervous when they realize a text or email has come in.

Bear in mind that each case is unique, so your children may not show all of these signs.

How Microaggressions Work

When thinking about how your kids might be bullied, you probably think about clear and strong examples: Getting hit, sending nude photos around, that sort of thing. But there are several forms of bullying that are both common and hard to notice at first: microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations. The Treehouse as a great explanation of all three microaggressions.

  • A microassault is when, instead of openly attacking, the bully uses language or images to insult the ethnicity or gender of your kids.
  • When a bully shares negative or insensitive comments about your kids’ culture or heritage rather than them directly, that’s microinsults.
  • Your children face microinvalidation when bullies disregard your kids’ troubles or challenges due to their race, gender, and so on.

The problem with microaggressions is how many don’t realize they’re doing it. Still, many bullies will use these techniques because they think they can get away with it. Bullies know they can’t use openly negative terms about someone being black, so they make comments about “non-whites” or “you people” instead. Although they’re subtle, they can really hurt your kids.

How To Help Your Children

If you’ve seen some signs or your kids report any of those microaggressions, what can you do to help? has some good tips for protecting your children:

  • Make sure the privacy settings on your children’s tech are set correctly. Don’t let posts go out to everyone; keep posts to close friends only.
  • Teach your kids to never post anything online when angry or sad. This can help avoid letting sensitive details out where bullies can find it.
  • Talk to your children about making their passwords secure and why they should never post personal information like addresses or phone numbers.

If you discover that cyberbullying is going on, you need to save everything. Take screencaps if you can. Evidence needs to be collected to prove anything. You also want to tell your kids never communicate or fight back. This can just make things worse. Many schools have policies against cyberbullying and out of school harassment, so check with your school’s administration.  Lastly, contact the social media site or internet service provider to report cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying Is A Real Problem

Even if you’re not as good with technology as your kids, they still need your help. You need to know what cyberbullying is and what counts as a microaggression. Then you can take a few steps to protect your kids online. After all, your children still need their parents.

About the author– Laura Pearson believes that every student has great potential and aims to help as many as possible unlock it. Ms. Pearson and Edutude strive to find unique, creative ways for parents and educators to encourage students to be challenged, motivated and excited by learning. (

Image Source: Pixabay

Great School Voices Oakland Education Week in Review 8/18

Sharing the latest Oakland Education Information out to the Oakland Community


A painful deportation story of one of our families– The Face of Deportation in Oakland

Our new OUSD superintendent shares her vision in a radio interview– City Visions: A conversation with the new OUSD and SFUSD Superintendents

Another look at the deportation of one of our families– Who Trump’s “Bad Hombres” Really Are?  The Real Face of Deportation in Oakland and What You Can Do

OUSD released its latest organizational chart

The Measure G1 committee met 8/14 you can see the agenda here

The Measure A,B, and J Oversight committee met 8/14 and you can see the agenda here


Immense inequities in special education statewide– When it Comes to Special Education in California Schools, ‘Funding Is Very Unequal’

San Diego Unified is pushing out some of its most challenged students to charters– District Admits Pushing Struggling Students Toward Charters

Equity and Quality

Ignorance from the president of Fresno Unified’s School Board– President of Fresno Unified Board of Education Makes Anti-LGBT Statement from Dais

We still care way too much about student bathrooms– Texas ‘Bathroom Bill’ Dies as Special Session Ends

Best of the Rest

National polls show decrease in charter support and increase in voucher support– Unintended Consequences in the Public Education Wars—Vouchers Win


The Face of Deportation in Oakland

Hundreds gathered to protest the deportation of one of our families this week.  A raucous crowd chanted as I approached, Highland hospital, where the mom works as a cardiac and oncology nurse.  “No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants are welcome Here” rang through the crowd.  A family huddled together, supporters around, cameras and microphones pressing in on them.  I wanted to interview them too or move closer and record their answers.

But I saw their daughter on the side.  A tear welling, that look of being torn between desperation and sadness.

You can read the story in a variety of places.  Hard working, contributing, good family, that has been trying to make their immigration status right for over a decade, being deported.  Children ripped from parents.  Troublingly, they were prioritized for deportation because they actually had tried to go legal—thereby alerting authorities.

I know, I know—they broke the law.

But lots of people break the law, I am sure everyone reading this has broken the law.  The question for me is does the punishment fit the crime—and listening to this story and seeing this family– no, it doesn’t.

I can argue back and forth with folks, and there are lots of good arguments.  But standing at the rally, I only saw one.  A family struggling to stay together likely to be ripped apart, and a young girl struggling not to cry, something I think will repeat itself far too many times and doesn’t have to.

And while I am usually the first to instigate chants and join in, something just kept hurting me at the rally, looking at the girl and her family and hearing the chants.

“No Hate, No Fear, immigrants are welcome here.”

I couldn’t bear to join them, chanting, the lies couldn’t cross my tongue.

Unintended Consequences in the Public Education Wars—Vouchers Win

The latest poll numbers are in and they don’t bode well for public education.  Support for charter public schools, while still predominantly favorable, eroded, while net support for vouchers grew in the latest Education Next poll.  Concerted attacks on charters have been moderately successful, and in some cases the charter sector itself has been its own worst enemy.  But it will be a bitter dessert for the teachers’ unions and their allies if the singular fight against charters leads to a voucher system.  And that is where the numbers are pointing.

It is kind of the Game of Thrones for public education; while the district and charter houses of public education feud, a larger menace grows beyond the wall.

But let’s look at the survey results.

EdWeek summed up the numbers 

Support for charter schools has fallen 12 percent from last year, the largest change in opinion that EdNext saw on any single policy from last year. The steepest drop-off came from white participants. At the same time, the survey found that opposition toward school vouchers and other similar policies that direct public aid toward private schools has softened.

Let’s start with a look at the poll, while majorities of the public and particularly Black and Brown families still supported charters more than they didn’t, there was a real dip across the board.  Ed Week pulled together some of the data, here’s the latest poll


And you can see the longer term trendlines from Education Next,



They summed up the findings and methodology,

In the new nationally representative survey of more than 4,200 respondents, only 39 percent said they supported charter schools, down from 51 percent in 2016. However, that’s still more than the percentage of respondents who oppose charters, 36 percent. A quarter of respondents said they had no opinion of charter schools one way or the other.

The drop spans both major political parties. Support among Republican respondents fell 13 percent compared to 11 percent in Democrats.

But those numbers change based on how the question was asked. Respondents were divided into two groups. One was informed that Trump favors charter schools. Within that group, support among Republicans significantly increased, and only slightly eroded among Democratic respondents. This has the net effect of boosting support for charter schools to 45 percent.


In my view this is the result of a somewhat successful anti-charter campaign, failures of charters to clean their own houses, having some pretty nasty friends, whether we want them or not, as well as charters being lumped in with the rest of the “failing public schools” by some republicans.  But in the end, proponents of public education should be worried.  If charters wane as a reform, vouchers are waiting in the wings.  And surprisingly the trend lines on vouchers are going the other way, with decreasing resistance and a stable level of majority support.

Again from EdWeek,

Opposition to tax-credit scholarships for low-income students has fallen from 29 percent last year to 24 percent this year. Support for the policy—which is most popular among the various types of private-school choice programs according to the poll—remained essentially flat at 54 percent.


The same trend was seen on the question of allowing all families to use vouchers: Opposition fell while support went unchanged.

If critics of charters worry about transparency and equity, they should be doubly worried about vouchers.  And if they are playing a long game, I would hope they pay attention.  They may win some rhetorical battles and sacrifice some charters on the battlefield, but they don’t even seem to notice the White Walkers on the horizon, and the war they should fight, but are steadily losing.