Summer Education News Round Up

Hey everyone- it’s been a while, and we hope your summer has been fun, restful, and safe. Great School Voices is also in summer mode we’re back to deliver your summer education news round-up!

In early July, Great School Voices sat down with New York City-based Neighborhood Charter Schools to learn more about implementing their Autism Spectrum Disorder Program. Earlier this month, we released two new episodes of SOBEO Rants with the one and only Marquis Evans. 


ICYMI – SOBEO Rants – Season 4 Episode 2

Are Allies Getting in the Way of  Black Excellence?  –  The following post is from your host of SOBE Rants, MarQuis Evans, and is intended as an introductory companion piece for the next SOBE Rants podcast. Follow Quis on this journey by subscribing to Apple, Google Podcasts, or Spotify

In this episode, Quis delves into cultural competence and discusses whether students need more educators that look like them and share their lived experiences. 


News You Need to Know

New York TimesHow bad is the teacher shortage? – Depends on where you live

Many public schools across the United States are opening their doors with fewer teachers than they had hoped for. According to one national survey by Education Week, nearly three-fourths of principals and district officials said this summer that the number of teaching applicants was insufficient to fill their open positions. 

Inside Higher Ed Teacher Education Programs desperately seek students

Education colleges and teacher preparation programs are creating new incentives to lure students, hoping to reverse years of enrollment declines and fill classroom vacancies. 

Los Angeles Times (VP Kamala) Harris, Oakland Leaders Announce $50 million initiative to invest in children, end (generational) poverty.

Vice President Kamala Harris joined with Oakland leaders earlier this month to announce the establishment of the Oakland Generation Fund, which aims to provide financial support to low-income children and help end generational poverty.

Cal Matters

Low income students are more likely to be in classrooms with underqualified teachers. 

A persistent teacher shortage has forced many California school districts to hire teachers who aren’t fully credentialed or are teaching out of their subject areas. More of those teachers are teaching classes at schools with high percentages of low-income students, undermining efforts to achieve academic parity with more affluent schools.

What has Tony Thurmond done as California school chief? 

Tony Thurmond faces little opposition for a second term as California schools superintendent, but critics question how much he has accomplished. He points to task forces that are influencing education policy and says he wants to help public schools rebound from the pandemic.

Oakland Voices

Community Advocates have taken over Parker K-8, Oakland School Slated for Closure. 

In February, the Oakland Unified School Board voted to permanently close or truncate three schools this year and six more next year. Parker K-8 was one of those schools slated for closure. In protest of that decision, dozens of students, parents, and public school advocates refused to leave Parker K-8 after the last day of the official school year on May 25, and have been engaged in an around-the-clock “liberation” of the campus ever since. The activists have renamed the site “Parker Community School.” 

Private Security Guards Allegedly Injure Parker Community School Activists.

On August 4, 71 days after the school takeover had begun, OUSD executive staff, on the last day before the OUSD School Board returned from its summer recess, sent private security contractors from Overall and Associates to go to the school and evict the activists. Parker Community School activists have been engaged in a sit-in protest at a former OUSD school since it was permanently shuttered on May 25. 

The Oaklandside  

Election 2022: Who’s running for OUSD School Board? 

Nine candidates are running for three seats on the Oakland Unified school board in districts 2, 4, and 6. In 2020, voters elected four new directors to represent Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7. Those races drew a crowded field, with a combined 17 candidates on the ballot. Fewer candidates chose to run this year, but the races in each district are shaping up to be competitive. 

Transitional Kindergarten gets a boost in Oakland Unified.

School is not mandatory in California until a child is 6 years old. Transitional kindergarten was introduced in the state in 2012 after the Kindergarten Readiness Act adjusted the birthday cutoff for kindergarten. Previously, 4-year-olds who would turn 5 by Dec. 2 could enroll in kindergarten for that year; after that, the birthday deadline was moved up to Sept. 1. Transitional kindergarten was created for those students with birthdays between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, who were no longer eligible for traditional kindergarten. 

Oakland youth fought for the vote in 2020, and won. Now they’re being told to wait.

Voters approved Measure QQ in 2020, granting 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in school board races. The county registrar says that won’t be possible for this November’s election.

OUSD Student Director Linh Le on how adults can be better allies to youth.

Every year, Oakland high schoolers elect two of their peers to the Oakland Unified School District board of directors to represent their interests. Unlike adult board members, who serve four-year terms, student directors are elected to serve for one academic year, and their votes are preferential, which means they do not technically count when the board makes decisions. But that doesn’t stop them from being outspoken about their ideas and, at times, calling out other board members for not considering students’ perspectives. 

As Oakland kids go back to school, parents and teachers worry about dangerous streets.

After a summer that saw increased attention to Oakland’s dangerous roads, including several fatal collisions, families across the city worried about their children as they returned to school. 


California’s Reading Wars History.

The latest push for phonics-based instruction follows decades of debate on how to teach reading. 

Dual Immersion programs show promise in fighting enrollment declines

Dual-language immersion programs, which teach all students in English and another language, are so demanding that some school districts have been able to stop declining enrollment or even grow enrollment in a school by beginning a dual-language program. Research has shown that these programs benefit English learners and native English speakers.

California does little to ensure all kids read by third grade.

California fourth graders trail the nation in reading, and half of its third graders, including two-thirds of Black students and 61% of Latino students, do not read at grade level.

Yet, California is not among the states — including Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia, and New York City — that have adopted comprehensive literacy plans to ensure that all children can read by third grade. And California has not set a timeline or indicated its intent to create such a plan.

East Bay Times  

Oakland Student Shot, Another Student Arrested.

A shooting happened at Madison Park Academy on Monday. The school re-opened on Tuesday with campus and district behavioral health and safety staff to support students and parents on site; added that the involvement of a minor and the ongoing police investigation means “the school and the District’s ability to answer questions will be limited or prohibited. It is also unlikely that we will be able to clarify or correct rumors while the investigation is still underway.”

Free Food for all California school kids, regardless of need, starting now.

We know that more than half of California’s public school students have qualified for free and reduced-price lunches. And that hungry kids don’t learn as well as kids with full bellies. And that free meals for all can ease any stigma clinging to kids who need them.


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