Happy Friday, Oakland! It’s a beautiful day and beautiful 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, literacy advocacy superstar Bri Moore is profiled in The Oaklandside; a look at what the Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action means for California; some reactions on the Supreme Court decision to axe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan; and a thought-provoking look at why more women aren’t running America’s largest school districts. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The Oaklandside)
With a community’s help, she learned to read as an adult. Now she teaches literacy in Oakland schools
Literacy is a major challenge in Oakland. During the 2021-2022 school year, just 36% of third graders, including district and charter schools, were reading on grade level, and about 35% of students in all grades read on grade level, according to state standardized tests. Ensuring strong readers by third grade is a priority in Oakland Unified and is part of the district’s three-year strategic plan.
A former teacher and principal, Moore is driven by her own experiences growing up and attending schools in Oakland and Hayward. Throughout grade school, her teachers promised she would get extra help with reading, but she was promoted from grade to grade until she graduated in 1992, unable to read.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside
Proposition 28, a windfall for arts education, but implementation poses challenges
That’s one reason why, at this point, many arts educators are taking a wait-and-see approach. It should be noted that schools have three years to use the funds.
“We’ve tossed around some ideas, but honestly, I don’t want principals in schools to start making a lot of plans until we’re pretty sure what they can do with it,” said Phil Rydeen, coordinator of visual and performing arts at Oakland Unified School District. “There’s still some general fuzziness.”
The State of California
What does the Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action mean for California?
Those ripple effects will extend across the country, requiring all colleges to disband use of race-conscious admission practices. In California, it’s a slightly different story: Affirmative action has been banned in the state’s public colleges for decades, since Proposition 209 struck down the practice for public employment, contracting and education in 1996.
Despite that, the Supreme Court decision will still be felt across the Golden State. Private universities — which serve the same number of students as the University of California — will now need to follow suit in cutting affirmative action. It will also affect students who leave the state for higher education, as before the decision, California was one of just nine states to have banned race-conscious admissions at its public institutions.
Read the article by Elissa Miolene in The East Bay Times
Sacramento City Unified superintendent to step down after 6 tumultuous years with district
“The Sac City Unified Board and Superintendent Aguilar have mutually agreed to a leadership transition for our District,” Chinua Rhodes, president of the school board, said in a prepared statement. “As one of the longest-serving superintendents at Sac City Unified, we appreciate Superintendent Aguilar’s six years of service and his dedication to SCUSD students and families.”
Across The Nation
Supreme court strikes down Biden’s debt forgiveness plan
In a 6-to-3 decision, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that a mass debt cancellation program of such significance required clear approval by Congress.
Chief Justice Roberts declared that the administration’s logic — that the secretary of education’s power to “waive or modify” loan terms allowed for debt cancellation — was a vast overreach. “In the same sense that the French Revolution ‘modified’ the status of the French nobility,” he wrote, quoting a previous court decision.
Anger, defiance, fear over Supreme Court decision to block student loan forgiveness
Biden’s plan would have erased $10,000 in student debt for individual borrowers who made less than $125,000, or $250,000 as a married couple, and up to $20,000 for borrowers who had also received Pell grants while they were in school.
Nearly 20 million borrowers would have seen their debt erased entirely. Brea Govan, 30, is disappointed she will have to repay the $9,000 of debt from her master’s degree at American University. She believes college affordability hits at the root of the student loan issues.
“At some point I think that there should be a cap, especially for public institutions, there should be a cap on tuition,” Govan said.
Biden announces new actions to provide debt relief and support for student loan borrowers.
The Secretary of Education initiated a rulemaking process aimed at opening an alternative path to debt relief for as many working and middle-class borrowers as possible, using the Secretary’s authority under the Higher Education Act.
The Department of Education…finalized the most affordable repayment plan ever created, ensuring that borrowers will be able to take advantage of this plan this summer—before loan payments are due. Many borrowers will not have to make monthly payments under this plan. Those that do will save more than $1,000 a year.
In addition, to protect the most vulnerable borrowers from the worst consequences of missed payments following the payment restart, the Department is instituting a 12-month “on-ramp” to repayment, running from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2024, so that financially vulnerable borrowers who miss monthly payments during this period are not considered delinquent, reported to credit bureaus, placed in default, or referred to debt collection agencies.
Why aren’t more women running America’s school districts?
Today, women occupy executive positions in business, government and academia. A woman has run for president and another serves as vice president. Yet, fewer than one-third of the nation’s 500 largest school districts are led by women, despite the fact that the teaching workforce is overwhelmingly female. Women continue to be passed over for leadership roles in education based on “questions about family responsibilities, stability and emotionality,” just as the Sarasota County School Board did to Marie Izquierdo nearly three years ago. This doesn’t just hurt women aspiring to leadership positions — it’s depleting the educator pipeline, increasing turnover and, in turn, negatively impacting students and their families.
The childcare crisis is about to get worse with 3.2 million kids set to lose care this fall
The report highlighted what the end of the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, stabilization funds at the end of September means for families and childcare programs across the US. The Century Foundation found that about 3.2 million kids in the US may lose a childcare spot when these funds end, although the projected losses might not happen all at once. According to the new analysis, over 70,000 programs could close, which the report states is “one-third of those supported by American Rescue Plan stabilization funding.”
Read the article by Madison Hoff in Business Insider
Supreme Court won’t hear charter school’s bid to force girls to wear skirts
The move is a victory for civil liberties advocates and a blow to social conservatives who hoped that — after allowing public vouchers to be used at religious schools last year — the top U.S. court would exempt charter schools from constitutional protections. The case could have had far-reaching implications for charter schools, which operate in a gray area, functioning as public schools that are run by private organizations.
Read the article by Rachel Weiner and Moriah Balingit in The Washington Post
This school’s ‘Family Academy’ teaches immigrant parents their rights
So at Coates — a school that has students from 43 countries of origin and who speak 37 household languages, according to its principal — the Family Academy starts with the basics. Parents are encouraged, and often expected, to be partners in their children’s learning. They learn that they have a right to visit their children at school and that they can ask questions about what happens in the classroom. Instructors explain the importance of attendance on big test days and the value of PTAs.
Read the article by Karina Elwood in The Washington Post
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 Care.com