The Oakland Ed Week in Review 4/22/23-4/28/23

What’s up!! It’s time for the Oakland Ed Week in Review, 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. This is a Dirk favorite and one of the last blogs he published for Great School Voices. This week, OEA teachers vote to authorize a strike, which the district is calling illegal and trying to prevent; a state assembly bill would up teacher pay 50 percent if it becomes law; and make sure you don’t miss the article on the student who was accepted to 170 colleges (!) and earned more than $9 million in scholarship money (!!); 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 rally before school board, day after voting to strike
Carrying signs and banners, and chanting songs, teachers and families called for the school district to meet their contract proposals for higher salaries, campus safety measures, and reduced caseloads and class sizes. Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association have been negotiating a new contract since October, and the union on Tuesday announced members had voted to authorize a strike due to what they see as bad-faith bargaining by the district. 
Read the article by Ashley McBride of The Oaklandside

Oakland teachers vote to strike, but district says a walkout would be illegal
Oakland teachers overwhelmingly voted to support a strike, union officials announced Tuesday, but they added they will hold off calling for a walkout hoping for more productive bargaining sessions even as state officials consider whether a strike would be illegal.

District officials have filed for an injunction to prevent a strike, requesting the Public Employees Relations Board grant an injunction, a binding decision that would prevent the walkout. That decision is expected within the next few days.
Read the article by Jill Tucker of the San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland teachers take strike vote, accuse OUSD of unfair labor practices
In a media release, the union announced that voting began on Monday: “Instead of negotiating a fair contract for the safe, stable, and racially-just schools our students deserve, OUSD has bargained in bad faith and broken labor law,” the union said.
In a video statement on the OEA Facebook page, OEA Interim President Ismael “Ish” Armendariz announced the strike vote, which will be conducted for a week. Results will be tallied next Monday evening.
Read the article by Ken Epstien of The Oakland Post 

Schools look to ban ChatGPT, students use it anyway
Soon after ChatGPT was launched in November, the nation’s largest school district, New York City Public Schools, moved to ban its use by students. The second largest school district in the US, Los Angeles Unified, soon followed suit and blocked access from school networks to the website of OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT. Other school districts have done the same, including Baltimore, MD, Oakland Unified in California, and Seattle Public Schools.
Read the article by Lucas Mearian of Computer World

Oakland’s Holy Names High still very much open for enrollment
Despite recent news of the impending closure after this school year of Holy Names University’s (HNU) in the Oakland hills, the Catholic girls’ Holy Names High School (HNHS) in Oakland’s Upper Rockridge district remains a mainstay in the community and continues to offer a college preparatory high school experience in a supportive and inclusive environment.
Read the article from The East Bay Times

Families oppose OUSD plan to close special education programs
Oakland Unified School District’s special education programs, which serve more than 6,000 students, are being revamped this year and next year, with classes at several schools where students receive individualized support set to close at the end of this school year.
At the same time, the special education department is opening up several new programs to accommodate increases in enrollment, particularly in the district’s early childhood programs, which serve 3 and 4-year-olds. District leaders are making these adjustments based on demand, staffing, proximity of similar programs at nearby schools, and budget needs. But for families of students who receive special education services, the district’s recent announcement of classroom closures means they’ll be searching for a new school for the fall, with only a few weeks left in this school year. The changes could also cause anxiety for some students with disabilities who thrive on stability.
Read the article by Ashley McBride of The Oaklandside

The State of California

Proposed California law would increase school teacher pay 50 percent by 2030
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) seeks to tackle the statewide teacher and school staff shortage by increasing their salaries by 50% in the next seven years.
Read the article by Clara Harta of The East Bay Times

BHS transfer students on the unique qualities of Berkeley High
Until high school, sophomore Charlotte Livermore attended Oakland Unified School District schools. But her closest high school was McClymonds High School, which, according to Livermore, had many fights, an issue with lead poisoning, and was “just not a good school.” Livermore said she and her brother tried to get into Oakland Technical High School, but were placed somewhere in the 200s on the waiting list. “So, my parents made the decision to look at other districts, which were really only Piedmont and Berkeley.”
Read the article by Maya Dang of The Berkeley High Jacket 

California needs better support for students and teachers of color
In California, about 23% of our student population is white, while 63% of the teacher population is white. Our Latino students make up 54% of our students, while just 20% of teachers share that demographic. As a Filipina-American, special education middle school teacher, I live the reality of my students’ perception of how they’re viewed as students of color every day. I also struggle every day with my own isolation as a teacher of color, especially as I continue to champion students like Ruben. As I question why my students of color are underachieving or advocate to provide differentiated instructional strategies to support them, my efforts are frequently dismissed or belittled. I am left questioning the disrespect toward me and my experience as a result of being a teacher of color.
Read the opinion piece by Allison Zamora of EdSource

Across The Nation

A 16-year-old high school senior has received admission to 170 colleges and more than $9 million in scholarships
Barnes said he began applying to schools in August 2022 and took pride in watching the acceptances and scholarships roll in. “It was never really a surprise for me once I reached that number,” Barnes said.
School officials say Barnes’ accomplishment sets a new world record and have reached out to the Guinness Book of World Records to make it official, according to Clark Castle, a spokesman for the school and Barnes.
Read the article by Justin Gamble of CNN

Conceding missteps, College Board pledges to revise Black studies course
“In embarking on this effort, access was our driving principle — both access to a discipline that has not been widely available to high school students, and access for as many of those students as possible,” the College Board said. “Regrettably, along the way those dual access goals have come into conflict.”
Read the article by Nick Anderson of The Washington Post

‘We need to be prepared’: NYC schools to ramp up accommodations for students with diabetes
For as long as two decades, New York City students with diabetes were regularly denied opportunities to go on field trips or participate in extracurriculars. Their schools often failed to develop individualized plans for the students in a timely manner as required by federal law. Most school staff lacked the training needed to keep a diabetic student safe, including in the event their blood sugar dropped to life-threatening levels.
This week, a federal judge formally approved a class-action settlement that requires the city’s schools to overhaul its supports for its nearly 2,000 children with diabetes, ensuring they’re included in all activities and have access to adequate education plans and staff who can keep them safe.
Read the article by Alia Wong of USA Today

One school’s solution to the mental health crisis: Try everything
More than two-thirds of schools nationally say they have increased mental health services since the pandemic began, according to 2022 federal data. But the scope of efforts and the extent of staffing vary widely across the nation’s 100,000 public schools.
In this Ohio town, school leaders grasped the depth of the crisis: More students were absent. More were involved in fights and other incidents. More quit on their class assignments. Some gave up on bricks-and-mortar school — switching to an online provider, only to return further behind. Reports of child neglect and abuse in the county jumped nearly 20 percent in 2022 from a year earlier, according to Athens County Children Services data.
Read the article by Donna St. George of The Washington Post

Florida just expanded school vouchers – again. Here’s what it could mean for public education.
Around the country, the political razzle-dazzle around “school choice” – giving families who enroll in the programs vouchers to spend on a range of school options as they see fit – is electrifying conservatives, grabbing public attention and becoming a GOP campaign banner. This year, states including Iowa, Utah and Arkansas have adopted universal school vouchers, which can be used like coupons for tuition, or education savings accounts (ESAs), which put money into accounts or onto debit cards for parents to use for school costs. Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account, which was offered starting last fall, has enrolled more than 50,000 students, many of whom were already attending private schools. Legislatures in about 30 states are considering related moves.
Read the article by Laura Papano of USA Today

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