The Oakland Ed Week in Review: 5/20/23-5/26/23

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, check out an opinion piece on how a assembly bill will harm California charter schools serving high-needs families; some reflection on and fallout from the OEA strike; and the US Surgeon General says social media puts young people’s mental health at risk. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. 


Opinion: Mia Bonta bill attacks charter school construction funding
This bill would hamstring many charter schools’ ability to provide safe and equitable facilities serving our highest-needs families and communities. For example, Lodestar, our campus in the Sobrante Park neighborhood, serves a student population that is 95% low-income and 45% English-language learners, with over 13% qualifying for special-education services. Our families choose our schools because of our focus on teaching and learning, K-12 community school model, and emphasis on college and career readiness.
Read the opinion piece by Rich Harrison in The San Jose Mercury News

The Oakland Teacher’s Strike impact on student learning
The issue of teacher strikes raises several concerns regarding quality and equity in education. A school is often the primary source of academic help, sustenance, and stability for students from underprivileged homes. These students are particularly impacted by teacher strikes because many lack access to private tutoring or alternative options. As a result, disadvantaged students fall further behind their more fortunate peers and the achievement gap grows, aggravating already existing educational imbalances.
Read the article by Alejandra Lopez-Herrera in Great School Voices 

Teachers unions demand housing, transportation and other student supports during negotiations
“When you look at teachers’ willingness to strike and hold out for these broader issues, it reflects on how important these broader issues are to helping them to carry out their jobs,” Jacobs said. “Being homeless hinders a student’s ability to learn. Pay and benefits are important, but there is a big underlying push here by teachers to try and improve schools and the quality of education.”
Read the article by Diana Lambert of EdSource 

Oakland Unified’s Class of 2023 survives pandemic, historic wildfire season, teacher strike
Elizabeth Feng was a freshman in March of 2020 when students were ordered to stay home — initially for a few weeks, and ultimately, for a year and a half. 
“We were all like ‘yay, we get off time from school’ we all thought it was going to be two weeks and then I think we soon realized it wasn’t going to be just two weeks,” said Feng. 
When she did return, it was with a mask, social distancing, and frequent testing. Now she is planning to go to UC Berkeley in the fall.
Read the article by Velena Jones of NBC Bay Area

OUSD’s annual attendance fell 4% as a result of the teachers strike
Those absence rates dropped OUSD’s average daily attendance for the year from 89% to 85%, which will, in turn, reduce the amount of money the district receives from the state. Prior to the pandemic, OUSD’s average daily attendance rate was around 94%. Since then, Oakland schools have struggled to reach that number.
Read the article by Ashley McBride of The Oaklandside

Winner of upcoming Oakland school board election could be crucial swing vote for divided district
An election to fill a vacant seat on the politically divided Oakland school board this November could establish a crucial swing vote on intensely fought-over issues such as school closures and labor contracts. Whoever fills the seat may either cement or erode the growing political power of the Oakland Unified School District teachers union. They’ll also have a significant influence on how the district deals with its embattled finances.
Read the article by Shomik Mukherjee of The San Jose Mercury News

The State of California

‘Very unlikely’ California has enough money for proposed budget, Legislative Analyst’s Office says
“Our analysis suggests that level of revenue is very unlikely — there is less than a one‑in‑six chance the state can afford the May Revision spending level across the five‑year period,” according to the LAO. “This means that, if the Legislature adopts the Governor’s May Revision proposals, the state very likely will face more budget problems over the next few years.”
The Legislature will vote on a final budget by June 15.
Read the article by Carolyn Jones of EdSource

Fresno teachers vow a strike vote if they don’t reach a deal with district. ‘We’re tired’
“We have a plan on how to transform public education in Fresno,” he told The Bee’s Education Lab before the rally. “The district is lacking in a response – doesn’t have a plan. We’re tired of (them) dragging this on.”
Read the article by Julianna Moreno of The Fresno Bee

Sausalito Marin City School District teachers rally for higher pay
Teachers are being offered 3% raises this fiscal year, retroactive to July 1, and 3% for 2023-24. Another negotiation session is set for Monday, the teachers said.
“It’s not acceptable,” said April Gregory, a first-grade teacher, who was among more than 20 union members and supporters who attended the demonstration Wednesday along Bridgeway in Sausalito.
Read the article from Kerri Brenner of the Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: STEM careers can help Latinos fight social inequity, but students need to seize scholarships
In 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and while she was becoming a mother, Trochimezuk formed an organization called IOScholarships, which aims to help young people like my children’s friends find the necessary scholarships to continue studying. “Every year there are so many scholarships that nobody applies for. That’s a waste.”
She’s right. The National Scholarships Providers Assn. (IOScholarships is a member of that organization) reports that in the last 10 years, the number of scholarships awarded has increased by more than 45%. Yet an estimated $100 million in scholarships goes un-awarded each year, largely due to a lack of applicants, Forbes reported in November 2021.
Read the opinion piece by Alejandro Maciel in The Los Angeles Times

Across The Nation

Surgeon General warns that social media may harm children and adolescents
The nation’s top health official issued an extraordinary public warning on Tuesday about the risks of social media to young people, urging a push to fully understand the possible “harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”
In a 19-page advisory, the United States surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, noted that the effects of social media on adolescent mental health were not fully understood, and that social media can be beneficial to some users. Nonetheless, he wrote, “There are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”
Read the article by Matt Richtel, Catherine Pearson and Michael Levenson in The New York Times

Reparations for Black Americans: How K-12 schools fit in
In the last few years, a long-gestating movement to repair those harms has gained traction in cities across the country. These efforts, which fall under a broad category of “reparations,” have cropped up in cities like Asheville, N.C.; Detroit; Evanston, Ill.; Providence, R.I.; St. Louis, Mo.; and St. Paul, Minn.
Many relate implicitly and explicitly to K-12 education. Some directly involve school districts, highlighting the effects of segregation and chronic underfunding. Others aim to incorporate youth perspectives by including current K-12 students on task forces studying reparations. And several reports from reparations task forces have touched on the importance of improving education opportunities and mental health supports for Black students.
Read the article by Mark Lieberman in Education Week

COVID Brief: Pandemic to Blame for Increase in Toddler Speech Delays
“Babies and toddlers are being diagnosed with speech and language delays in greater numbers, part of developmental and academic setbacks for children of all ages after the pandemic. Children born during or slightly before the pandemic are more likely to have problems communicating compared with those born earlier, studies show. Speech therapists and doctors are struggling to meet the increased need for evaluation and treatment.”
Read the article by John Bailey in The74

What happened to the social-emotional screening tool that NYC schools began using last year?
New York City’s education department plans to ditch a controversial social skills assessment for the coming school year, Chalkbeat has learned. The tool’s proponents believe it’s a missed opportunity to help shift school culture to become more responsive to children’s social-emotional wellbeing, particularly at a time when needs are high.
Read the article by Amy Zimmer of Chalkbeat

Poet Amanda Gorman slams Florida school for keeping poem from youngsters
Amanda Gorman slammed officials at a school in Miami-Dade County, Florida, on Tuesday for what she called a ban on elementary students reading “The Hill We Climb,” the poem she famously recited at President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential inauguration.
The poem, which has been published as a short book, will now be accessible only to middle school students at the pre-K through eighth grade Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, Florida.
Read the article by Kayla Jimenez of USA Today

High School did not discriminate against Asian American students, court rules
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Alexandria, Va., had replaced the admissions exam with an essay and began admitting students from a cross-section of schools, with weight given to poorer students and those learning English.The appellate court, in a 2 to 1 ruling, found that there was not sufficient evidence that the changes were adopted with discriminatory intent.
Read the article by Troy Closson of The New York Times

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