Welcome back to the Oakland Ed Week in Review! Each Friday, we’re gathering key news articles from Oakland and around the state and nation 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. Here’s what’s on tap this week: an update on the District 4 School Board seat; Gavin Newsom’s “equity multiplier” plan to raise Black student achievement; alarming statistics that point to a crisis for American girls; plus more news from around The Town, the state and the nation. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The Oaklandside)
Oakland’s contested school board election is going to trial
Oakland Unified School District directors Mike Hutchinson and Nick Resnick met at a Superior Court hearing in downtown Oakland on Friday morning with their attorneys, Oakland City Clerk Asha Reed, and Deborah Fox, a lawyer representing the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, seeking a resolution to their ongoing legal dispute over the outcome of November’s District 4 school board race.
Oakland native shares love of golf with underserved youth
A partnership with the Oakland Unified School District has started a new Girls Love Golf program of golf clinics. And Pinkney is excited to help open a golf training facility in downtown Oakland in April, in hopes of introducing 20,000 kids to golf in three years.
‘The Town Talks’ on KDOL-TV gives OUSD students the mic
Although this will be the first time the show is taped in front of a large audience, The Town Talks crew has plenty of experience. Since launching last year, the team has produced five shows, with guests that include Ay’Anna Moody, the Golden State Warriors director of social impact programs; Elisa Greenwell, founder and CEO of The Black Joy Parade; actor, director, and poet Rafael Casal; and Jeopardy! champ Amy Schneider.
The State of California
Progressive SF Parents Form Group To Counter National Conservative Education Discourse
Pushing back against recalls and privatization, a group of local progressives affiliated with a Bernie Sanders organization, Our Revolution, has launched a group focused on education. Announced on Monday, the SF Education Alliance identifies as “proudly left-leaning, anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-carceral, pro-union.”
State Superintendent Announces Programs to Tackle Disproportionate Discipline in Schools
Reports indicate that discipline rates have increased in recent times, especially for African American and Native American students and students with disabilities. Superintendent Thurmond’s efforts will include guidance to local educational agencies, webinars to highlight best practices in reducing disproportionate suspensions, and a tip line anyone can use to report incidents of districts engaging in disciplinary practices that violate California Education Code or mask the actual rate of discipline.
East Bay District to phase out grades 6-8 at one school
Bay Farm School will not enroll any sixth-graders beginning in the fall as Alameda Unified begins phasing out middle school grades there. The school board approved the plan on a 4-1 vote, with school board member Gary Lym dissenting.
Read the article by Ken Burbank of Bay City News
Tentative agreement between West Contra Costa Unified and teachers union avoids potential strike and immediate layoffs
Weeks ahead of a potential strike, West Contra Costa Unified and its teachers union, the United Teachers of Richmond, struck a tentative contract agreement Friday that gives raises this year and next to teachers and school staff without the district having to lay people off.
For the next two years, at least.
Newsom’s big bet on fixing California’s poorest schools and narrowing achievement gaps
His proposal, announced last month, grew out of a push by Black legislators to direct new money specifically toward helping Black students raise achievement. Since the 1996 voter initiative Proposition 209 bans affirmative action in public schools, Newsom is proposing a different approach.
A small proportion of Black students would benefit from attending the state’s poorest schools that would receive $300 million in new ongoing funding — a strategy Newsom is calling an “equity multiplier.”
Across The Nation
The crisis in American girlhood
These expressions of inner crisis are just a glint of the startling data reported by federal researchers this week. Nearly 1 in 3 high school girls said they had considered suicide, a 60 percent rise in the past decade. Nearly 15 percent had been forced to have sex. About 6 in 10 girls were so persistently sad or hopeless they stopped regular activities.
The new report represents nothing short of a crisis in American girlhood. The findings have ramifications for a generation of young women who have endured an extraordinary level of sadness and sexual violence — and present uncharted territory for the health advocates, teachers, counselors and parents who are trying to help them.
Read the article by Donna St. George, Katherine Reynolds Lewis and Lindsey Bever of The Washington Post
Black families are changing the educational landscape through communal home-schooling
More and more Black families have turned to home-schooling in the past six years, but 2020 saw a significant increase when the pandemic disrupted in-person education, sending children home to rely on virtual lessons. At the onset of the pandemic, 3.3% of Black families were home-schooling their children, but that share increased to 16.1% by fall 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. These newcomers joined hundreds of Black home-schooling families who have spent years growing the practice, forming their own communities like African American Homeschool Moms in New Jersey, Stewart’s Home Grown Homeschoolers Inc. in the Houston area, the Cultural Roots Co-Op in Virginia, among many others.
Read the article by Shar Adams of NBC News
College Board says it erred in not quickly pushing back on ‘slander’ by Florida over AP history course
“Our failure to raise our voice betrayed Black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field,” the company said in an extensive statement released Sunday to “clear the air and set the record straight.”
It called attacks “on Black scholars repulsive” and said “they must stop.”
DeSantis says he could do away with AP courses altogether. Here’s what that means for Florida students.
The skepticism of College Board products is something of an about-face for DeSantis, who is widely expected to run for president in 2024 and has launched himself into several feuds with corporate behemoths. In his 2021 State of the State address, he touted Florida’s status as second in the country for the percentage of graduating seniors who have passed Advanced Placement exams.
In fact, Florida has one of the highest AP participation rates in the U.S.
Federal COVID relief aid to schools will dry up soon. Are districts ready?
For districts, there’s an added challenge: Looming deadlines attached to the federal aid put them under time pressure to map out their spending and use up the remaining funds quickly and effectively, while also figuring out how they’ll manage without it.
What they’re eager to prevent is a so-called fiscal cliff, where a steep drop in funding forces sudden and severe budget cuts that could ripple throughout the school system.
Read the article by Koby Levin and Ethan Bakuli of Chalkbeat