Welcome back to The Oakland Ed Week in Review, our roundup of education news articles from Oakland and around the state and nation to help 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 going on this week: in Oakland, the board chooses not to follow California law around Prop 39 offers; a dyslexia bill advances in the state senate, with opposition from the teachers union; more fallout (but not much hope for change) from the horrible Nashville school shooting; 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: Chalkbeat)
OUSD is required to share space with charters, but community members are pushing back
Last week, the school board voted to offer space at East Oakland Pride Elementary School to Aurum Preparatory Academy, a charter middle school currently located at Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland. Board members also approved the use of rooms at Brookfield Elementary School for Yu Ming Charter School, a Mandarin immersion K-8 school in North Oakland. Those charters have until May 1 to accept or reject the offer.
But requests from East Bay Innovation Academy and Envision Academy of Arts and Technology, both 6-12 schools that are asking for additional space to accommodate their high school grades, were put on hold after the board asked OUSD’s office of charter schools to come back this week with recommendations that didn’t include placing those schools on elementary school campuses like Franklin or Markham.
Read the article by Ashley McBride of The Oaklandside
Here’s why Oakland teachers are going on unauthorized ‘Wildcat’ strike over contract negotiations
Teachers from at least 14 OUSD middle and high schools stopped work on Friday. They said among a list of escalating frustrations, the district has repeatedly canceled negotiation sessions.
There were some tense moments during the unauthorized strike. The teachers’ passion was mirrored by some parents who approached the closed gates to access campus.
“Let me by. I got kids in here that are disabled,” one woman directed. “Move out my way. Move out my way!”
Read the article by Amanda de Castillo of ABC7
Oakland Recognizes High-Achieving Latino Students
Doing well enough in school to get on the honor roll is a big deal for many students, so the Oakland Unified School District held a special event Saturday at Fremont High School to recognize Latino students grades 6-12, who made the list.
About a 1,000 students gathered at the school for the ceremony.
Read the article by NBC Bay Area Staff
Marcus Foster, Oakland’s first Black superintendent, is being honored this week
Foster, who would have turned 100 on March 31, established the organization in 1973 as the Oakland Education Institute to raise money for new initiatives in Oakland schools. After his tragic and untimely death that same year, the institute was renamed in his honor.
Friday’s celebration is meant to commend community changemakers who have followed in Foster’s footsteps, while also bringing attention to the leader whose tenure as superintendent was cut short by his assassination.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside
An After-School Education Program Aims to Diversify the Tech Industry
Still, in a city where math test scores are lower than average, some parents say even well-resourced programs backed by titans of the tech industry will only make a limited difference without broader interventions.
“We see that advanced math coursework is a huge predictor of college success, but this stuff is all foundational,” said Lakisha Young, founder and CEO of The Oakland Reach, a parent-led advocacy group focused on better supporting low-income students of color in Oakland. “It’s like kids are already getting knocked out for the count in elementary school.”
Read the article Daniel Lempres of EdSurge
The State of California
Dyslexia bill advances in state Senate committee
Over the objections of the state’s largest teachers union and English learner advocates, a bill requiring schools to screen K-2 students for dyslexia unanimously passed the state Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 691, which now advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee, would require schools to identify children at risk for dyslexia, a reading disorder that affects up to 20% of the population, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and the bill’s author, Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Burbank.
Read the article by Carolyn Jones of EdSource
Free condoms at California’s public high schools? Here’s what bill proposes
Contraceptive access throughout California high schools was on the docket for Wednesday’s Senate Education Committee meeting, where people in support and opposition took the stand. If it the bill progresses — and eventually passes in the Senate — free condoms would be available to all students starting the 2024-2025 school year.
Read the article by Jacqueline Pinedo of the Sacramento Bee
California’s LGBTQ+ kids in the crosshairs as a surge of bills targeting gender identity reaches record high
During the first three months of this year, legislators have introduced 574 bills around the country, including two in California, that target gender identity and sexuality, according to suicide prevention organization
Read the article by Elissa Miolene of The East Bay Times
Berkeley Unified creating a task force to look into reparations for Black students
Over the next year, Berkeley Unified will consider cash payments as reparations to Black students whose ancestors were enslaved in the United States. The district is establishing a 15-20 member Reparations Task Force consisting of school board members and staff, and community members. Iits first meeting is April 24, according to a website on the effort.
Read the article by John Fensterwald of EdSource
Stockton Unified’s summer school program is helping district’s graduation rate
The uptick at Stockton Unified is in large part due to the district’s progressive summer school programs and during-the-school-year catch up, said Brian Biedermann, the district’s director of Educational Services.
“We’re on a term system for four months to get a grade,” Biedermann told The Record. “That may still be the case for the majority of our kids, but now we have options for them outside of that traditional model that we have to move away from in education anyway. That model has never worked for all students. It worked for some, but it’s never worked for most.”
Read the article by Ben Irwin of The Stockton Record
Struggling Mission, Excelsior schools face steep cuts
As San Francisco public school principals turned in their 2023-24 budget proposals to Superintendent Matt Wayne this past Friday, many scrambled to find solutions to cuts at schools that have seen slight enrollment reductions over the last few years.
So far, John O’Connell High School, June Jordan School for Equity, and Cleveland Elementary School are three of the schools in for cuts of about $200,000 each. These are smaller schools that provide specialized, intimate classrooms for their students, the majority of whom are socioeconomically disadvantaged. A large margin of enrolled students are Latinx and Black.
Read the article by Griffin Jones of Mission Local
Across The Nation
Nashville school shooting prompts Capitol protest, and a fresh look at Tennessee gun policies
It was a dramatic day on Capitol Hill as elected officials acknowledged this week’s mass shooting confounded many elements of Tennessee’s school safety policies and proposals, including the governor’s bill to require all K-12 public schools to keep their exterior doors locked, or risk losing escalating amounts of state funding with each violation. The measure also requires that private security guards receive active shooter training before they’re posted at school
Read the article by Marta W. Aldrich of Chalkbeat
Schools Routinely Search Students for Weapons Under Safety Plans. Should They?
The March 22 shooting at a Denver high school by a student during his daily patdown for guns has focused new attention on “safety plans.” Those are individualized agreements that can involve school personnel routinely searching students who have previously broken laws or school rules for weapons, drugs, or other contraband.
Read the article by Mark Walsh of Education Week
Poor, rural students who lack access to advanced math are unlikely to pursue careers in STEM
Rural high schools, small high schools and high schools that serve historically marginalized students don’t provide the same access to advanced math classes as other schools, new research shows.
As a result, students who attend those schools may be less likely to pursue future courses or careers in science, technology, engineering and math and miss out on admission or financial aid to college and higher-paying job opportunities.
Read the article by Kyla Jimenez of USA Today
Chicago’s Mayoral Race Pits the Teachers Union Against the Police Union
Both unions offer considerable muscle, which could prove vital if turnout remains around the 36 percent who came out for the first round of voting on Feb. 28. The teachers union has put $1.2 million behind Mr. Johnson, with a further $1 million coming from the national and Illinois federations of teachers. Armies of door knockers and phone bankers are pitching in, while the police union presses its members to volunteer for the final Vallas sprint.
But no other union in the nation’s third-largest city carries the same liabilities either. An 11-day teachers strike near the beginning of the 2019 school year pitted the educators’ union against City Hall and many parents. Then schools shut again last year with the teachers union again at loggerheads with the city, this time over coronavirus policies as parents prepared to send their children back to in-person instruction.
Read the article by Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times
Florida school bans Disney movie on civil rights activist because a parent didn’t want her child to learn hatred
A Florida school banned a Disney movie about racial integration after one parent complained students should not see scenes of hatred toward a 6-year-old Black girl.
Earlier this month, the parent wouldn’t allow her child to watch the 1998 Disney movie “Ruby Bridges,” which tells the real-life story of a 6-year-old girl who was among the first Black students to attend Louisiana public schools in 1960.
Read the article by Claire Thornton of USA Today