The Oakland Ed Week in Review: 5/13/23-5/19/23

Welcome back to 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, there’s a look at the deal OEA teachers signed with OUSD after the strike; an alarming investigative piece on how much lead is in the drinking water in California childcare centers; and a list of Presidential Scholars from around the Bay and the country. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: Chalkbeat)


How OUSD plans to fund historic $70M compensation package for teachers following end of strike
As for the four common good proposals, just one, the Black Thriving Schools proposal, has a financial component. It requires the district to pay for five new teaching positions.
It will cost, “$1.5 to $1.8 million over the course of three years for those five positions,” said Josh Daniels, OUSD’s Chief Governance Officer.
The OUSD and OEA hope to work with local, state, and federal officials to assist with the other common good proposals such as securing Section 8 vouchers to help unhoused students. And work with AC Transit to expand access to free bus passes.
Read the article by Anser Hassan of ABC7

Sharing our reporting on traffic safety and systems with high schoolers
After defining the problem, I asked students two simple questions, in Spanish and English: Why are so many people hit and injured on our streets? And who is responsible?
Several answered that people are speeding and driving recklessly. Although true, I pushed them consider the systemic nature of the problem.
Read the article by Jose Fermoso of The Oaklanside

Proposed state budget could make becoming a teacher easier
Nicole Knight, executive director of English Language Learner and Multilingual Achievement at Oakland Unified School District said the funding to renew this program is a step in the right direction, but not enough to fill the shortage of bilingual teachers. She said more colleges need to offer bilingual authorizations as part of their teacher credentialing programs and there needs to be more done to prepare bilingual middle and high school teachers to teach single-subject classes in languages other than English.
Read the article by Diana Lambert and Zaidee Stavely of EdSource

The State of California

Dangerous levels of metal found in water at California child care centers. Search our data
About 1,700 licensed child care centers in California — a quarter of the nearly 7,000 tested so far — have been serving drinking water with lead levels exceeding allowable limits, according to data that the nonprofit Environmental Working Group secured from the state. Susan Little, a senior advocate for the environmental group, said it’s “really alarming” that California infants and preschool-age children are being exposed to this risk in places where their parents think they are safe. Lead, of course, has been proven to permanently damage children’s brains and other parts of their nervous system.
Read the article by Cathie Anderson and Phillip Reese of The Sacramento Bee

Charter school network finds solution to teacher shortage — virtually
Alpha Public Schools, which operates four schools in San Jose, has hired 11 teachers from Alaska, Maryland and Texas to teach online.
“I know it’s not ideal for our students — we all know that,” Shara Hegde, chief executive officer of Alpha Public Schools, told the Mercury News. “But until we really, radically change the education profession here in the United States, we’re going to be looking at solutions like this.”
Read the article by Carolyn Jones of EdSource

U.S. Presidential Scholars: 7 Bay Area teens win prestigious award
Seven Bay Area high schoolers have been named 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars, an honor awarded to only 161 students in the nation.
Three were honored for general academic excellence:
Annmaria K. Antony, San Jose, Harker School
Elane Kim, Walnut Creek, Stanford University Online High School
Aaron Hieu Tran, Morgan Hill, Ann Sobrato High School
Three were honored for excellence in the arts:
Zoe Wijesekara Dorado, Castro Valley, Castro Valley High School (writing)
Miranda A. Lu, San Jose, Leland High School (visual arts)
Gavin Ray Trotmore, Berkeley, Berkeley High School (design arts)
One was honored for excellence in career or technical education:
Sezen S. Musa, Sunnyvale, Wilcox High School (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America)
Read the article from The Bay Area News Group

Across The Nation

Opinion: Parents don’t understand how far behind their kids are in school
In 2019, the typical student in the poorest 10 percent of districts scored one and a half years behind the national average for his or her year – and almost four years behind students in the richest 10 percent of districts – in both math and reading.
By 2022, the typical student in the poorest districts had lost three-quarters of a year in math, more than double the decline of students in the richest districts. The declines in reading scores were half as large as in math and were similarly much larger in poor districts than rich districts. The pandemic left students in low-income and predominantly minority communities even further behind their peers in richer, whiter districts than they were.
Read the opinion piece by Tom Kane and Sean Reardon in The New York Times

600 children would lose child care with end of free NYC program for undocumented families
Then, through tips from other newly arrived Colombian mothers, Angela discovered a new city pilot program called Promise NYC, which in January began covering up to $700 a week in child care for low-income, undocumented immigrant families. In late March, Angela’s son, just shy of 2 years old, became one of about 600 children who received vouchers to enroll in subsidized day care or after-school programs that are otherwise unavailable to those without legal immigration status.
Angela has since started a part-time job cleaning, is taking courses that would allow her to work in construction, and is figuring out how to obtain legal immigration status. But that could all end on July 1, if the City Council approves Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed budget, which slashes the pilot program for next fiscal year.
Read the article by Reema Amin of Chalkbeat

Feds launch $10 million school desegregation program after stops and starts
In a surprising move, federal education officials announced last week that they had created a new $10 million grant program to fund school integration efforts.
The funding is a small fraction of the $100 million that President Biden has tried to get Congress to put toward this program since he was elected. But it represents a noteworthy, if small, win for integration advocates who’ve spent years lobbying the federal government to take a bigger role in supporting school desegregation.
Read the article by Kalyn Belsha of Chalkbeat 

‘Mississippi miracle’: Kids’ reading scores have soared in Deep South states
Mississippi went from being ranked the second-worst state in 2013 for fourth-grade reading to 21st in 2022. Louisiana and Alabama, meanwhile, were among only three states to see modest gains in fourth-grade reading during the pandemic, which saw massive learning setbacks in most other states.
The turnaround in these three states has grabbed the attention of educators nationally, showing rapid progress is possible anywhere, even in areas that have struggled for decades with poverty and dismal literacy rates. The states have passed laws adopting similar reforms that emphasize phonics and early screenings for struggling kids.
Read the article by Shannon Lurye of The Associated Press 

Biden administration adds nearly $100 million for school mental health professionals
Fourteen colleges and school districts in California are among those that will receive federal grants to hire and train mental health professionals in high-needs schools, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday.
The grants are part of an overall investment of more than $95 million, spread among 35 states, through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The money is in addition to $286 million the administration has already awarded to train and hire mental health professionals and diversify the field.
Read the article by Carolyn Jones of EdSource

New York Is forcing schools to change how they teach children to read
Hundreds of public schools have been teaching reading the wrong way for the last two decades, leaving an untold number of children struggling to acquire a crucial life skill, according to New York City’s schools chancellor.
Now, David C. Banks, the chancellor, wants to “sound the alarm” and is planning to force the nation’s largest school system to take a new approach.
On Tuesday, Mr. Banks announced major changes to reading instruction in an aim to tackle a persistent problem: About half of city children in grades three through eight are not proficient in reading. Black, Latino and low-income children fare even worse.
Read the article by Troy Closson of The New York Times

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