It is time for The Oakland Ed Week in Review! We have another edition 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. This week: the OEA is ramping up strike readiness and the parents of The Oakland REACH are asking for more transparency with negotiations; the OUSD board is deadlocked 3-3 on how to fill the vacant D5 seat; and down south, the LA school workers strike concluded after three days; 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 Teachers Ramp Up Strike Readiness
OEA Interim President Ismael Armendariz said, “Today, we took a step in having a labor action; we walked out on our [professional development]. That is an escalation.”
“OUSD has been bargaining with OEA since October,” he continued. “We have a 51-member bargaining team that spent hours crafting  bargaining proposals. OUSD has come to the table with two unserious proposals and zero counter [proposals].”
Read the article by Ken Epstein of The Oakland Post
What’s happening with OUSD union negotiations? It depends who you ask
Lakisha Young, a parent and executive director of The Oakland REACH, a parent-run education advocacy group, said while she wants to see teachers and staff be paid more, a wildcat strike will just be another disruption for students who have already experienced significant instability over the last several years, including a six-day teachers strike in 2019, the COVID school closures in 2020 and 2021, and a one-day strike last year over school closures.
“They need to be able to negotiate in a reasonable way and move this forward on behalf of folks getting a good wage and not have it hurt our kids,” Young said. “[A wildcat strike] doesn’t make anything better for anybody but it inconveniences a lot of people, like the folks who need their kids in school the most.”
Read the article by Ashley McBride of The Oaklandside
Oakland school board deadlocked on how to fill District 5 vacancy
During Wednesday’s meeting, the board voted twice—once to call a special election, and once to start an appointment process. Each vote split along the same lines: Directors VanCedric Williams, Valarie Bachelor, and Jennifer Brouhard supported appointing someone, and directors Sam Davis, Clifford Thompson, and Hutchinson favored holding a special election.
“Philosophically, I don’t think it’s our job representing other districts to tell District 5 who should be their representative,” said Hutchinson. “If we make an appointment, it is disenfranchising the voters in D5. This is a democracy and these are elected positions.”
Read the article by Ashley McBride of The Oaklandside
Photos, old and new, show Oakland then and now
In the background, the Paul Robeson Administration Building still stands abandoned since a custodian left the faucet on and flooded the building in 2013. The structure was once the Oakland Unified School District’s headquarters until they were forced to move due to significant structural damages. HYArchitects, a firm hired to assess the cost of repairs to the site, determined that a revamp would cost more than the price of a new build and recommended demolishing the building. A new plan for OUSD headquarters is in the works under the name The Marcus Foster Education Leadership Complex.
Read the article by Saskia Hatvany of The Oaklandside
COVID-19 Protocols to Change for Oakland Schools, Bay Area Health Care Workers
The Oakland Unified School District is aligning with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also dictates policies for health care workers.The new guidelines for OUSD students are as follows:
Return to in-person classes 6 days after positive test
No test required to return
A mask must be worn through Day 10
Read the story by Kris Sanchez of NBC Bay Area
Schools face crossing guard shortage
Oakland’s Department of Transportation has faced trouble filling crossing guard positions, and so has Los Altos and East Bay schools.
Nationwide schools have faced a crossing guard shortage that parallels the broader labor shortage. Crossing guards typically work an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.
Read the article by Emma Gallegos of EdSource
The State of California
LAUSD strike ends with classes to resume Friday but no settlement for low-wage workers
A sweeping three-day strike that shut down Los Angeles public schools — led by support staff and backed by teachers — ended Thursday, clearing the way for students to return to class, but the unsettled labor dispute continues to threaten the stability of the nation’s second-largest school district.
Local 99 of Service Employees International Union — which represents 30,000 gardeners, custodians, teacher aides, special education assistants, bus drivers, food service workers and others — claimed success in bringing the plight of some of the school district’s lowest-paid workers to broad public attention. The strike shuttered campuses, which will reopen Friday, and roiled family schedules as parents scrambled to find day care and secure meals normally provided at school.
Read the article by Brennan Dixon, Howard Blume and Teresa Watanabe of The Los Angeles Times
Most States Screen All Kids for Dyslexia. Why Not California?
But the application of the strategy isn’t necessarily so clear cut. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent right now than in California, where multiple attempts to pass legislation requiring universal school-based screening for dyslexia risk factors have met with resistance, most notably from the California Teachers Association.
Read the article by Elizabeth Heubeck of Education Week
Bay Area school enrollment has plummeted. So why has student population spiked in this East Bay city?
Over the past five years, 85% of school districts in the Bay Area registered a drop in enrollment, with some losing nearly a third of their students. It’s a trend largely driven by falling birth rates, a rise in homeschooling, and a steady stream of people leaving the state.
But in Dublin, both the schools and the city have seen the exact opposite: Its student population has tripled since 2009. Dublin Unified is one of less than 15% of all Bay Area school districts that have grown its enrollment over the last five years — and only one of six districts to have grown with over 5,000 students.
Read the article by Elissa Miolene of the San Jose Mercury News
West Contra Costa Unified responds to reports of racism in schools
West Contra Costa Unified plans to hold town hall listening sessions for students and adults and develop anti-racist staff training and policies in response to students sharing instances of racism on campus at recent school board meetings.
The Black student unions at the district’s high schools have reached out to district officials with reports of anti-Black racism and prejudice felt by students throughout the district. At a school board meeting on March 15, Superintendent Kenneth “Chris” Hurst said he wanted to acknowledge the students’ experiences and share what the district is doing about it.
Read the article by Ali Tadayon of EdSource
Jeff Freitas re-elected as president of California Federation of Teachers
Delegates for the state’s second-largest teachers union re-elected Freitas, who has been president for the past four years, to a third two-year term.
CFT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and represents teachers and classified staff at public and private schools and colleges in California.
Read the article by Michael Burke of EdSource
San Francisco Insisted on Algebra in 9th Grade. Did It Improve Equity?
A much-debated change to math course sequencing in the San Francisco schools designed to reduce racial inequities has increased Black students’ access to some higher-level courses.
But racial inequities at the most advanced levels of high school math remain largely unchanged, according to a new analysis released March 20.
Read the article by Sarah Schwartz of Education Week
Hayward high school is still struggling to heal as hate crimes soar across the country
Three months after Mt. Eden High School was rocked by allegations of a teacher using antisemitism texts in the classroom, the Hayward school district board has hired a consultant to repair the damage — a move that some students and teachers feel is too little, too late.
Read the article Elissa Miolene of The East Bay Times
Across The Nation
House passes GOP ‘Parents Bill of Rights’ measure opposed by Biden
The Parents Bill of Rights Act would require public school districts to publicly post information about curricula for students, including providing parents with a list of books and reading materials available in school libraries. The congressional action comes as some elected Republicans in states across the country have been intensifying a push to ban some books or pressed for limits on teaching about issues related to racial equality, sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Read the article by Rebecca Shabad of NBC News
Autism rates rise again. Why experts say many kids are still ‘invisible to the system.’
With conditions that require a complicated diagnostic process, it’s typical for less advantaged children to lag behind, so the increase suggests more children of color are now getting the help they need, said Andy Shih, chief science officer of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group.
“This increase is really fueled by us doing a much better job in identifying minority children with autism,” Shih said.
Read the article by Karen Weintraub of USA Today
Special education clash: Supreme Court sides unanimously for student with disability
The Supreme Court sided unanimously Tuesday with a student who is deaf and who sought to sue his school for damages over profound lapses in his education, a case that experts say could give parents of students with disabilities more leverage as they negotiate for the education of their children.
Central to the case was the story of Miguel Perez, who enrolled in the Sturgis Public School District in Michigan at age 9 and brought home As and Bs on report cards for more than a decade. Months before graduation, Perez’s parents learned that he would not receive a diploma and that aides the school assigned to him did not know sign language.
Read the article by John Fritze of USA Today