Make America and Oakland Great Again

If only we could go back to that golden age before charter schools destroyed public education in Oakland.  Oh the days, when all the neighborhood schools were well funded and performing perfectly, when poor Black children and rich White ones sat side by side in equality.  Where language minorities were respected and received high quality language development services.  And oh yes, when children with special needs all flourished, under loving and expert tutelage.  The days when our educators and schools were lavished with resources and every student reached their full potential and grew into beautiful and unique flowers.

Oh I harken back for the days.  Let’s reminisce around the campfire with some s’mores and review a glowing article from the 2003 Oakland Tribune, describing the state of achievement in the District in 2003,

Thousands of Oakland high school students and parents celebrated graduation this month. But 75 percent of the ninth-graders on the books in 1998 had nothing to celebrate on graduation day four years later, according to new school district records released to The Oakland Tribune…

The district’s new records show Oakland almost totally failed to graduate students with the credits they need to get into state universities or University of California schools.  Only 7 percent of the freshmen who started school in 1998 graduated four years later with the classes they need on their transcripts to get into state or UC schools. For African-American students, that percentage shrinks to less than 3 percent… That means fewer than three out of every 100 black freshmen graduated on time from city schools with enough credits to get into college. The numbers are even lower for black male students.

How does that compare to today, based on the District Balanced Scorecard?

  • Cohort graduation went from 25% to 60.8%
  • UC/CSU eligibility for all students from 7% to 39.8%
  • UC/CSU eligibility for African American students went from 2.9% to 23.6%

Oh, the good old days.   Wistful sigh.  Let’s make Oakland Great Again.

Red hats with the logo are available for 10 bucks a pop at

Charters are neither the whole problem nor the whole solution, though sometimes they are problematic and at others they do provide solutions.  And we need the nuance to know the difference.

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