The Oakland Ed Week in Review 6/17/23-6/23/23

We are back with 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, Families in Action (FIA) parents and organizers are profiled in The Oaklandside; another good article in the Oaklandside looks at advocacy work Education for Change’s Cox Academy parents are doing to make their school building safe for their kids; the national testing data shows how much the pandemic has cratered progress: the math scores are the same as 1990 and reading scores the same as 2004. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. 


Oakland’s Black and brown students are struggling. These parents are ringing the alarm
The organization that produced the report, Families in Action, launched in 2019 as a platform for charter school families to speak out against what they viewed as anti-charter hostility in Oakland. Over the past four years, the group has trained hundreds of parents and students in its leadership institutes, offering them skills in political advocacy and resources for pursuing high-quality public education for their children. More recently, the group has shifted its focus to making all of Oakland’s public school systems accountable for how students are doing. The new report, “The Unspoken Pandemic,” was created to illustrate the scope of the problem.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

Are politics blocking this Oakland charter school from badly needed repairs?
“The kids [were] asking every day, ‘Why hasn’t this been fixed? How come the roof keeps leaking?’” said Viveca Ycoy-Walton, a parent of a third grader at Cox, where teachers have kept bins in their classrooms to catch water when it rains.
For months, Ycoy-Walton and other parents at Cox have been raising the alarm about dire conditions at their school, urging the Oakland Unified School District board to take action by approving the release of state money that was awarded to Cox months ago to fix its aging campus.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

Girls Inc. helps teens thrive in challenging time
Daisha was in a dark place when she found Girls Inc. of Alameda County four years ago.
The 17-year-old Black nonbinary bisexual person seriously considered suicide in middle school, they said. They moved in with their aunt and grandmother in Oakland when they were about 12 years old. Daisha’s relationship with their aunt wasn’t good, they said. Daisha only wanted to use their first name used to protect their privacy.
Somehow, they found the support they needed, which eventually led them to Girls Inc. in Alameda County.
Read the article by Heather Cassell in The Bay Area Reporter

‘Fiscal cliff’ approaching for some districts in California as costs soar and enrollment falls
Even as state lawmakers are hammering out the final details of the 2023-24 budget, revenue shortages appear inevitable for some districts. Oakland Unified, Stockton Unified, San Francisco Unified and West Contra Costa Unified are among those facing steep cuts to staffing and programs. Overall, state lawmakers are working to close a $4 billion funding gap in the TK-12 and community college budgets, although so far the state still plans to give schools an 8.3% cost-of-living-adjustment.
Read the article by Carolyn Jones and Ali Tadayon in EdSource

‘Restore trust’: Alameda County establishes election oversight commission
In an effort to “restore trust” after the November 2022 election, District 5 supervisor Keith Carson proposed an ordinance to create an elections oversight commission, which the board unanimously approved June 6, according to his chief of staff Amy Shrago. The ordinance had “overwhelming” board and community support, Shrago said.
The commission will comprise 13 total voting members: four community members, five district supervisor-appointed members and an additional four representing selected organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the League of Women Voters, according to Shrago.
Read the article by Elise Fisher and Swasti Singhai in The Daily Californian 

The State of California

Cal State workgroup makes recommendations to improve Black student success
The report was assembled by a work group consisting of university presidents and experts across the system and includes feedback from Black students, faculty and staff. “The collective and unified commitment on the part of CSU leadership to implement the report’s recommendations underscores the importance and urgency of this work,” said Jolene Koester, interim chancellor of the system. “While correcting longstanding inequities will take time, we must take immediate and decisive action. The CSU’s Black community deserves it. Our mission and core values demand it.”
Read the article by Ashley A. Smith in EdSource

Commenters clash at SLO County school board meeting on transgender kids’ use of restrooms
More than 100 Templeton parents, students and residents turned out Tuesday night for an at-times contentious school board study session on transgender students’ use of restroom and locker room facilities within the district. The meeting, which ran for five hours in the band room at Templeton Middle School, included over two and a half hours of public comment, often interrupted by loud outbursts and verbal disputes between audience members as tensions ran high throughout the meeting.
Read the article by Lucy Peterson in the San Luis-Obispo Tribune

Across The Nation

National test scores plunge, with still no sign of pandemic recovery
“These results show that there are troubling gaps in the basic skills of these students,” said Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which administers the tests. The new data, she said, “reinforces the fact that recovery is going to take some time.”
The average math score is now the same as it was in 1990, while the average reading score is the same as it was in 2004.
Read the article by Donna St. George in The Washington Post

Jen Johnson, Chicago’s new deputy mayor for education, has a long to-do list. First up: Youth jobs, migrant families.
But Jen Johnson, the former chief of staff for the Chicago Teachers Union (no relation to the mayor), says she is also eager to dramatically expand the district’s Sustainable Community Schools program, a partnership with the teachers union in which high-poverty schools team up with community-based organizations to beef up services for students and transform campuses into neighborhood hubs. 
Expanding these types of schools was a campaign promise of Mayor Johnson’s, himself a former teachers union leader.
Read the article by Mila Koumpilova in Chalkbeat 

‘A fighting force’: How Americans with crushing debt plan to repay their student loans
Many Americans are worried about having to start paying their student loans again. For some, it might mean getting a second job and cutting back on their spending, including dining out less or not buying name-brand goods and foods when shopping.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently warned that about 1 in 5 student loan borrowers have risk factors that mean they will struggle when repayments resume.
Read the article by Terry Collins in USA Today

New York wants to revamp how schools are evaluated. Here’s what could change for now.
How does the state determine whether schools are doing well or if they are struggling and need extra support? Before the pandemic, state officials relied on standardized tests and high school Regents exams to figure out how well students were doing, along with other factors, such as graduation rates. But the public health crisis paused state testing and affected school performance metrics in other ways.
Now, education department officials are seeking a new, temporary evaluation system for the next two school years, with the hopes of creating something more permanent for the 2025-26 school year.
Read the article by Reema Amin in Chalkbeat

This is how much child care costs in 2023
For the 10th year in a row, child care costs have continued to rise. Today, families are spending, on average, 27% of their household income on child care expenses. And 59% of parents surveyed tell us they are planning to spend more than $18,000 per child on child care in 2023. It’s no surprise that 50% of parents are more concerned about the cost of child care than they were at this time last year.
Read the report from

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