Welcome back to the Oakland Ed Week in Review! Each Friday, we’re gathering key news articles from Oakland and around the state so you stay up-to-date with what’s going on. This was a Dirk favorite and one of the last blogs he published for Great School Voices. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The San Francisco Chronicle)
Oakland mass shooting victim loved his family and had big dreams
Mario Navarro, who was born and raised in Oakland, graduated from Unity High Charter School last year and was still deciding what to do with his life. But Omar Quintero, his father’s cousin who spent nearly every day with Mario Navarro, said his dream was to open his own car shop.
“He wanted to be his own boss,” Quintero said. “He just started living; he still had a (long) way to go.”
Oakland’s abrupt decision to keep schools open slammed in staff report
Keeping the schools open also likely means the district will have to co-locate charter schools on district campuses based on a state law that requires making underutilized sites available. That could include the five sites remaining open or other campuses where they had hoped to increase enrollment from the transferring students.
District officials hoped that the transfer of students from the five schools slated for closure would help boost enrollment in other schools next year, ensuring more of the district’s 77 sites would be fiscally viable with at least 305 students. Instead, the district is now projecting 15 schools will fall below that threshold, meaning they will require more funding than they would get based on enrollment.
Oakland’s new school board voted not to close schools — but at what cost?
On Wednesday, the superintendent’s presentation showed even more staggering figures: that rescinding the closures, for example, will lead to staff costs of over $5 million, along with expanded facility upgrades, a plan with an $82.9 million price tag.
But families and many of the board members were not swayed by the numbers. Some parents expressed relief that their schools would remain open; others expressed their hesitancy to accept the findings of the report, with some on the board and in the audience claiming it told a narrow, uneven picture of financial impact.
At an Oakland Art School, a Teacher’s Arrest for Alleged Sexual Abuse Reopens a Painful History
When Maureen learned her former Oakland School for the Arts teacher was being investigated by police over allegations he sexually abused a student nearly two decades ago, she was terrified.
Maureen, 34, said the arrest of Jeremy Taylor brought back painful memories of what she believes were inappropriate relationships staff at the school developed with students — including the relationship she had with a teacher that led to their marriage seven years after she graduated.
The State of California
Richmond High substitute teacher fired after attack on teen who used racial slur
West Contra Costa Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst issued a statement today regarding the firing of a Black substitute teacher seen on video physically attacking a student who called him a racial slur at Richmond High on Monday, Jan. 23.
Sacramento Assemblyman introduces bill to ban homeless encampments near parks and schools
The bill would make a statewide law of what several cities in California have already proposed. Last October, the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to add schools to its list of “critical infrastructure,” thus making it illegal for homeless communities to camp or use “camp paraphernalia” within 500 feet of school sites. State Senator Angelique Ashby (D-Sacramento), then a council member, proposed the change after a homeless man was arrested outside Sutter Middle School in East Sacramento for yelling obscenities and making sexual gestures at students. The Los Angeles City Council passed the same restriction last August.
When Students Change Gender Identity, and Parents Don’t Know
Guidelines on social transitioning vary widely among school districts. Some states, such as California, New Jersey, and Maryland, expressly advise schools not to disclose information about students’ gender identity without their permission, while others offer antidiscrimination guidance that is open to interpretation.
The Times interviewed more than 50 people, including parents and their children, public school officials and lawyers for both L.G.T.B.Q. and conservative advocacy groups. In cases where parents asked to remain anonymous to protect the privacy of their children, The Times made extensive efforts to corroborate their claims.
Commentary: Why are school districts still using dress codes to discriminate against girls?
An investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office late last year revealed that many school dress codes have created unsafe and inequitable conditions, possibly violating students’ civil rights that guarantee equal treatment. And the Supreme Court is considering weighing in on a 2019 ruling in the 4th Circuit Court striking down a North Carolina charter school’s requirement that girls must wear skirts or dresses. Students at the school say the requirement is discriminatory and conveys the message that girls are inferior to boys.