It’s time for the Oakland Ed Week in Review! This is our weekly 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, a Dirk favorite and one of the last blogs he published for Great School Voices. This week, the possible teachers union strike in Oakland is big news, we have some different perspectives to share with you; we also take a look across the Bay at The City’s enrollment troubles; and SoBEO Award winner Kareem Weaver is featured in The New York Times in a must-read feature on “the revolt taking on the education establishment”; plus more news from around The Town, the state and the nation. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below.
Oakland Unified School District teachers to vote on strike
Some parents said they do not want another disruption for students with just weeks left in the school year. “We’re upset because our kids’ schooling has been disrupted enough. Every three years we go through this, and we never question why,” said Lakisha Young, an Oakland parent.
Read the article by Sara Stinson of KRON4
Parents push back on Oakland teacher strike vote: ‘Zero disruption’
Lakisha Young, founder and CEO of the literacy-focused nonprofit Oakland Reach, helped draft the petition, saying families are left out of the bargaining process, but they are the ones to pay when the union calls a strike.
“If you’re going to negotiate in the back room, keep the impact in the back room,” she said. “We’ve seen this pattern. Every time it’s time to negotiate, there’s always a strike. We’ve become indoctrinated into this behavior like it’s OK.”
Read the article by Jill Tucker of the San Francisco Chronicle
Opinion: Teachers union continues to sabotage Oakland schools
The reality is that Oakland’s school system is failing and has been for decades. The Oakland Unified School District has lost 15,000 students in enrollment over the last 20 years, leading the district to shut down several schools. The district is on the verge of insolvency over the cratering enrollment, and yet the teachers union complains that above-average pay for teachers isn’t good enough.
Read the opinion piece by Zachary Faria in the Washington Times
Teacher at school where Black student was called ‘monkey’ said she didn’t know it was an insult
According to a complaint, the incident happened after a student brought a toy monkey to class back on Feb. 21, 2023, at Hillcrest Elementary School in the Oakland Unified School District, where Qualynda Scott’s nine-year-old daughter attends third grade.
Not feeling satisfied with the teacher’s response, Scott went to Hillcrest and told the teacher that calling an African American a monkey is a well-documented racist trope. Scott claims the teacher told her that she had no idea it was an insult to Black people.
Read the article by Haaziq Madyum of KRON4
An ‘oasis’ in East Oakland: Homies Empowerment to open independent high school
By design, the school won’t be part of Oakland Unified School District. Nor will it be a charter school, or charge tuition for families. In creating the school independently, the Homies Empowerment team will have autonomy over its budget, hiring, and curriculum. Much of the school’s current funding comes from philanthropy, like the NACA Inspired Schools Network and the Samueli Foundation, Cruz said.
Read the article by Ashley McBride of The Oaklandside
Marcus Foster Education Institute turns 50, recognizes 100 change makers
Among those who were honored at the celebration were current OUSD Supt. Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Fremont High School Principal Nidya Baez, former school superintendents Joe Coto and Ruth Love, Dr. Noha Aboelata, film director Ryan Coogler, Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, and Japanese American civil rights activist Fred Korematsu. Other honorees included local businessman and civic leader Geoffrey Pete, civil rights attorney Walter Riley, farmworker leader Dolores Huerta, arts activist and gallery owner Joyce Gordon, and Dr. Denise Saddler.
Read the article by Ken Epstien of The Oakland Post
The State of California
Here’s how San Francisco’s public school enrollment compares to other districts
In the fall of 2019, SFUSD had more than 52,000 students in its non-charter schools. But with each year of the pandemic, fewer students enrolled, with the biggest loss between 2020 and 2021 when enrollment dropped by about 2,600.
During this time, enrollment at the city’s charter schools fell more modestly — by 1,500 from 2019 to 2022. Meanwhile, private school enrollment in the city actually went up. The number of students attending S.F. private schools with at least six students increased by about 400 students from the summer of 2020 to the summer of 2022.
Read the article by Nami Sumida of The San Francisco Chronicle
No teacher layoffs planned at Piedmont schools, but others likely
At the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD), no teacher layoffs have been proposed this year. However, noncertified (nonteaching) positions targeted for reduction or elimination include the full-time district technology specialist, health coordinator and director of communications. Part-time positions include a library assistant and administrative assistant.
Read the article by Linda Dav is of the East Bay Times
New contract would raise average L.A. teacher salary to $106,000 and lower class size
If approved by members of United Teachers Los Angeles, the salary for teachers would range from about $69,000 to $122,000. Teachers who take on extra work responsibilities could earn more, a boost aimed at addressing the high stress and high cost of living that many teachers say they are struggling with, especially since the pandemic.
Read the article by Howard Blume of The Los Angeles Times
Across The Nation
‘Kids Can’t Read’: The revolt that is taking on the education establishment
“The kids can’t read — nobody wants to just say that,” said Kareem Weaver, an activist with the N.A.A.C.P. in Oakland, Calif., who has framed literacy as a civil rights issue and stars in a new documentary, “The Right to Read.”
Science of reading advocates say the reason is simple: Many children are not being correctly taught.
Read the article by Sarah Mervosh of The New York Times
House Republicans vote to bar transgender athletes from women’s sports
As legislative activity around the issue increases, data shows very few student-athletes are transgender. A 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, which queried teens in 10 states and nine large urban districts, found that nearly 2 percent of high school students identify as transgender. Meanwhile, a Post analysis of CDC surveys from six states and six urban districts found that 43 percent of transgender students said they played sports — suggesting that about 1 percent of athletes in these jurisdictions are transgender.
Read the article by Marianna Sotomayor and Laura Meckler of The Washington Post
Parents rate math crucial to kids’ success — but say it needs an update
The survey, conducted by the research and public relations firm Global Strategy Group, was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Many of its themes — including the necessity of math skills in both promising career paths and the demands of everyday life — have been sounded by the Foundation over the past six months, after its leaders announced a major refocusing of resources toward post-pandemic math recovery last fall. Standardized tests like the National Assessment of Educational Progress have shown steep declines in math achievement during the COVID era.
Read the article by Kevin Mahnken of The74
Biden signs executive order that aims to make child care cheaper
In his remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Biden stressed that the executive order will help make it easier for families to afford to care for their children and their elderly parents, even without the kind of large investment he once envisioned.
“If you live in a major American city, you can pay more than $17,000 a year, as all of you know, per child for child care in order to be able to go to work,” he said. “For a lot of families, that’s more than you pay for your rent.”
Read the article by Michael D. Shear of The New York Times