The Oakland Education Week in Review: 11/2-11/8

last week, the superintendent on school openings and the balance, lots on the election and pre election info, a deep interview on the Waldorf approach in Oakland, looking at the issues facing OUSD, a parent critiques the minimester approach at Tech, another parent story on making equitable choices, and a look a the enrollment change proposals from some OUSD schools, all that and much more, please read, share and get involved

Oakland:

California:

Other Stories:

Resources:

Oakland:

  • Episode 11: Ida Oberman: Community School for Creative Education
    • I think that now we more and more feel it, as particularly now, under COVID, when we’re all pressed against our screens, how life-giving imagination is. And sometimes it feels ephemeral. But, if we realize that imagination is really at heart, thinking about the relationship amongst things that have not been yet, that’s when you create new things.
  • CWK: The importance of a balanced approach in school reopenings
    • In the last few weeks our public health officials have been allowing more of our community to reopen – including schools under certain conditions (see prior update). On Wednesday, our County Superintendent shared a statement  about the conditions under which Alameda County’s secondary schools are allowed to reopen.
  • Polling Locations Open at Ten District-Run Schools and One Charter School in OUSD on Halloween, and Will Open Daily Through November 3Voters Can Drop off Their Ballots at the Locations When Open
    • There are now just three days left before the final day to vote in the 2020 election, and eleven schools in OUSD, including one charter, are open as of today as polling locations. Once open, the sites will also serve as places where voters can drop off their mail-in ballots. The eleven schools are elementary, middle and high schools across the city. The locations listed below are open to any voter, not set aside for specific neighborhoods or parts of the city.
  • It Takes “The Town” to Fight for a Quality Education: Oakland and The Challenges Ahead for Public Schools
    • Improving the quality of education in Oakland public schools has been an ongoing and uphill battle. In recent months, there have been significant wins, such as the passage of the George Floyd Resolution, which calls for: police-free schools, the development of an ethnic studies curriculum for middle school students and a huge pool of school board candidates with a progressive agenda. Many hope that this will radically transform the education system, especially for impacted youth and families. However, due to budget cuts and the current global pandemic, there are several looming threats to Oakland’s schools. Potential school closures, the elimination of student support services, the high teacher turnover rate and the high cost of living coupled with underfunded schools, to name a few, leaves Oakland’s fight for high-quality education with many challenges ahead.
  • An Oakland High School Senior Brings Science Experiments to the People
    • Ahmed Muhammad is a senior at Oakland Technical High School, a straight-A student and the point guard of Oakland Tech’s varsity basketball team. He’s also the founder of Kits Cubed, a nonprofit he started while under California’s shelter-in-place order earlier this year. It aims to provide science kits and experiments to elementary and middle school students.
  • African-inspired ‘Black Panther’ salute gallops into Sunnydale
    • Jade Williams, an Oakland School for the Arts fashion design student, carefully crisscrossed each strand of hair until the long braid was finished. Turquoise, white and yellow beads were added until the dark mane was filled with decoration, making a gentle clattering sound as they struck together.
  • Making the Equitable Choice the Easy Choice, Five Questions for Midwife, Mother and Activist Rachel Latta
    • We have been thrilled by the reaction to our panel, Beyond Nice Parents, a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to everyone who tuned in–both live and later (we’ve had over 9k views to date), and all of those that have reached out to encourage us to keep the conversation alive. Speaking of which, I continued the conversation with my co-conspirator Rachel Latta (Oakland parent and co-founder of Equity Allies for OUSD, among much else). Here’s an excerpt:
  • Oakland Tech Distance Learning Model of minimesters fails to meet academic expectations
    • I am a parent of a 9th grade student at Oakland Tech High School which, according to some metrics at least, is Oakland’s best performing public high school. Based on my former experience as a credentialed science and math teacher and administrator, as well as a parent of a teenager, I don’t believe the current ‘minimester’ learning model works well enough to provide the education that hundreds of OUSD students desperately need.
  • Avoiding False Choices in Enrollment Reform; Yes on Sequoia, Chabot and Brewer
    • OUSD has incredibly segregated schools, and in gentrifying neighborhoods, it is getting worse.  So I was encouraged to see some school communities taking up the challenge of looking at their enrollment rules and how they either furthered segregation or interrupted it.  Unfortunately, after months of meetings and debate across these school communities, their enthusiasm for equity was met with cold shower and delay at the Board meeting.  A delay that may end up killing the plans, at least for this year, because enrollment opens on 11/16. 
  • Berkeley and San Jose schools are prepared to reopen soon; Oakland Unified isn’t
    • Berkeley middle and high schools have the option to reopen Monday if they have a plan and follow guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19, and schools in San Jose plan to return to in-person learning in January. There are no such plans for Oakland Unified. 

California:

  • How This Year’s Elections Will Affect Youth – And What They’re Doing About It
    • It is no exaggeration to say that this year’s elections would have major consequences for the nation’s history, and a younger generation who would be dealing with the aftermath of the nation’s choices next week are increasingly speaking out for their interests. Here are seven articles that help illuminate how California voter choices will affect youth — and how this next generation is responding to the needs of the times.
  • Does more money mean better schools?
    • Proposition 15, largely sponsored by the California Teachers Association and other public employee unions, would increase property taxes on some commercial real estate, such as office buildings and hotels, by requiring their taxable values to be upgraded more often. Estimates of its effects vary somewhat, but generally are in the $10 billion to $12 billion per year range, with schools getting about 40% of the proceeds.
  • A Key Election Issue for the Education Industry: California’s Proposition 15
    • At a time when school districts across the country are desperate for funding, California’s Proposition 15 would seem poised to do its part to help schools in the state in a major way. The ballot measure, which state voters will vote up or down tomorrow, would raise taxes on commercial and industrial property, by assessing them based on their market value, not purchase price.
  • What we know so far about school reopenings in California 
    • As more California public schools get set to reopen their campuses to students and teachers with a rhythm unseen in previous months, the pool of schools that have reopened so far have largely avoided triggering coronavirus outbreaks.
  • How California teachers are making bilingual education work online
    • Stuck behind a screen for distance learning, California teachers in dual-language classrooms are trying to come up with new ways to immerse their students in two languages.
  • Ensure equitable broadband access to secure California’s future
    • The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated a range of systemic inequities, from healthcare availability to employment opportunities and beyond. For higher education, internet access is tipping the scales between the haves and have-nots. When the delivery of high-quality instruction depends on reliable, high-speed broadband connections for every student — as it does right now — anyone lacking the right resources gets left behind.
  • Election post-mortem on Props 15 & 16, taxes and affirmative action
    • This week, we gather some of California’s smart observers to talk about the election and its impact on schools.
  • California can close the digital divide and give every student a chance. Here’s how
    • Of the many cracks in our country’s foundation laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic, unequal access to the internet may have the most devastating long-term consequences.

Other Stories:

  • Democrats must stand up for working families and school choice
    • The global health pandemic has unmasked glaring socioeconomic inequities in the lives of many Latino families, and nowhere is this more evident than in the disparities in education. Latino children, who comprise 13.6 percent of the overall student population attending U.S. public schools, and in states like California more than half (54.90 percent) of the state’s students, have been relegated to online distance learning with fewer hours of instruction time when compared to their more affluent counterparts.

Resources:

  • Citizen Ed: How to Professionalize your Advocacy
    • In this third installment of navigating rights for students with special needs, Chioma, Joy and Zach go deep on professionalizing your advocacy as a parent and how it can impact your organizing.
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