The Oakland Education Week in Review: 3/24-3/31

Last week, listening to teachers, celebrating our champs, parent choice stories, strike impact, the Opportunity Ticket, stories from our Newcomer youth, a great look at home languages and schools, the need for better data in CA, the costs of closing the achievement gap, the reality of American education and caste, all that and much more with links, please read, share, and get involved



  • What Happens When We Listen to Teachers’ Stories
    • Lately, teachers seem to be getting a bad rap. We’ve seen a year-long wave of teacher strikes provoked by deep budget cuts, punctuated by a nationally publicized comment from the president’s son about “loser teachers.” In the face of such hostility, what can teachers do? Here’s one solution: Tell our stories.
  • Celebrating Oakland’s Newest Champions – Oakland Tech & Oakland High!
    • Oakland High and Oakland Tech Girl’s Basketball brought home not one, but two CIF Championship wins this past month!
  • Teachers of Oakland: Tontra Love
    • “Kids always say – you must be named Ms. Love because you love everyone. Which, you know, there are definitely people I don’t love! But I do want my kids to know I’m their teacher, but I do totally love and care about them…”
  • California school district among latest to change board elections to better reflect diversity of community
    • The West Contra Costa Unified district in the Bay Area is one of the most recent to make this change after it faced a lawsuit that alleged “at large” elections in the district that serves about 29,000 students in Richmond and surrounding areas did not give African-American and Latino voters adequate representation on the five-member board.
  • Students from Across OUSD Come Together to Celebrate Annual Gender & Sexuality Alliance Day
    • Students from across Oakland came together recently for an event that celebrates the city’s well-known diversity. It was OUSD’s Fifth Annual Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Day when all young people were welcomed into a safe space where they could express who they are.
  • In this California classroom, students teach each other their home languages — and learn acceptance
    • In Acacia WoodsChan’s ethnic studies class at Castlemont High School in Oakland, California, students chat with each other in Spanish, Arabic and Mam, a Mayan language from Guatemala.
  • The Challenges of Choosing a School in Oakland: A Parent’s Story
    • When we had the opportunity to buy and move into our Santa Fe house in 2012 – two years before any kids were in the picture – we were told that the neighborhood school had recently closed. No problem, we thought. We have our home—and years to figure the school thing out…I blinked, and it was late 2018. I’m now a mom to an incoming kindergartner and a baby with special needs, who will likely need additional supports when he enters the public school system.
  • OUSD Strike 2019: Calculating the Impact
    • Thankfully the Oakland teachers’ strike is over and kids and teachers are back in buildings. This was a painful time in Oakland for many of us and there is still healing that needs to happen. There are both tangible and intangible costs to this all—and while we can calculate the lost revenue to OUSD, lost salary to teachers, and lost learning to students, we may not be able to quantify the costs to the community so easily.
  • Event: Our Births Matter: Black Moms Speak!
    • Join Healthy Black Families and Berkeley Black Infant Health in our Black Maternal Health Week Community Education Forum dedicated to the social/emotional development of our children from the womb to Kindergarten Readiness.
  • Who Has the ‘Opportunity’ to Attend the Best Schools in Oakland?
    • It’s been a busy year in the Oakland Unified School District. A week long teachers’ strike, talk of closing and merging schools, rocket school board meetings, and now it’s time for parents to decide which school their children will be at next year.
  • What happens when unaccompanied youth migrate from El Salvador to Oakland
    • In Lauren Markham’s book, “The Faraway Brothers,” she follows the story of her students, the Flores brothers, on their journey from El Salvador to Oakland. She explores how they are navigating the legal system, immigration laws, and just being in a new country. It all started with the first article she wrote in 2013 about migrant children stuck at the border.
  • Haifa Was Forced to Choose Between Her Faith and School, She Chose Faith, Kept Fighting, and Changed OUSD
    • Haifa was forced to choose between her faith and her school. She chose her faith and transferred out of Oakland Tech—the school many consider Oakland’s crown jewel—during her first year. She is in college now, but her legacy lasts, through a formal policy change she influenced there, and at other schools—hopefully including yours.


Other Stories:

  • It’s Time to Call American Public Education What It Is: A Caste System
    • It’s time to call American public education what it is: a caste system where White kids are at the top and Black and Brown kids are at the bottom. Still separate, very much unequal—apartheid.
  • The Lottery That’s Revolutionizing D.C. Schools
    • On a snowy December Saturday in 2017, Crystal and Sean Goliday and their young son, Noah, were among some 5,000 District of Columbia families streaming into the D.C. Armory next to RFK Stadium. Inside, staff from nearly all of the city’s 236 charter and traditional public schools were pitching their schools to passersby from long rows of brightly decorated, swag-filled booths set up on the armory’s hardwood floor.
  • Schools lack a clear view of Asian and Pacific Islander discipline disparities, study finds
    • When examining school discipline disparities, data consistently show that Asian-American students, compared to other racial and ethnic groups, have the lowest rates of suspensions and expulsions. But educators and researchers have long said the numbers don’t paint an accurate picture of what many students who fall within the Asian category experience in school because the classification itself is such a gross generalization of the many ethnicities and nationalities in that category, which makes up nearly half the world’s population.
  • This is One of the Largest Class of Black Law Students in Harvard Law History
    • Some of the leading trailblazers of our time graduated from Harvard Law School. Most notably, our forever first family members, Barack and Michelle Obama. 28 years since Barack Obama graduated and just two years since the Harvard Law Review elected the first Black woman to lead the student run publication, Harvard, now has one of the largest classes of Black law students in its history.
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