The Oakland Ed Week in Review 7/1/23-7/15/23

Welcome back to the Oakland Ed Week in Review! This is 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. We took a week off for the 4th, and now we’re back with a beefed up edition. Check out photos of Oakland kids enjoying summer; California finally mandates dyslexia screening for young learners, joining the vast majority of states that already do; and info on Biden’s “Plan B” for student loan forgiveness. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. 


Photos: How Oakland kids are dancing, splashing, and skating their way through summer
May 26 was a sweet day for many Oakland children: the first day of summer break for those in Oakland Unified School District. This year, students have 73 days to live up their summers before school starts again, and the clock is ticking.
This photo essay highlights what some Oakland kids are doing to fully enjoy their summer break and the skills they are learning along the way.
Check out the photos by Florence Middleton in The Oaklandside

At Castlemont’s FabLab, young Oakland artists make big paintings for public spaces
Tucked in the back of Castlemont, adjacent to a preschool and in a former ROTC shooting range, the FabLab—or fabrication laboratory—normally serves as a workspace for students in the school’s sustainable urban design academy, a program that focuses on architecture, urban planning, and the environment. But this summer, it’s been the headquarters for the Civic Design Studio. Thirty high schoolers have been hard at work there, painting pieces that will go up in Foon Lok East, a MidPen affordable housing complex at Brooklyn Basin.
Read the article by Ashley McBrid in The Oaklandside

The State of California

California joins 40 states in mandating dyslexia screening
California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed into law a bill that will require schools to implement universal screening in kindergarten through 2nd grade for reading delays, including the risk of dyslexia.
With the bill signing, the nation’s most populous state joins 40 others that have laws requiring dyslexia screening in early grades. These brief evaluations determine a student’s level of risk for reading problems in general and the potential risk of dyslexia, according to the National Center on Improving Literacy, and are not intended to replace more thorough assessments that can diagnose reading disorders. Screening advocates in California are celebrating the long-anticipated decision.
Read the article by Elizabeth Heubeck in Education Week

This bill will make it harder for California school boards to ban books — and it’s picking up steam among lawmakers
A new bill — AB 1078 — was approved by the Assembly and passed through the Senate Education Committee last week. The bill would require a two-thirds vote from a school board to remove books from the classroom and impose fines on school districts that refuse to provide materials with “inclusive and diverse perspectives.”
Read the article by Elissa Miolene in The East Bay Times

California State University system names its first Latina chancellor
García, who is the daughter of Puerto Ricans, was the first in her family to obtain a college degree. She holds an associate’s degree from a New York community college, a bachelor’s in business education from Bernard M. Baruch College in the City University of New York system, and a master’s in business education from New York University. She also holds a master’s and doctorate in higher education administration from Teachers College at Columbia University.
“When you educate a first-generation, low-income person of color … you are transforming a family,” García said. “And I can speak from experience. That’s me. Public higher ed was my foundation.”
Read the article by Nick Anderson in The Washington Post

California adopts controversial new math framework. Here’s what’s in it
The California State Board of Education voted to adopt a new—and much-debated—math framework on Wednesday, concluding a years-long process that involved three drafts, prompted hundreds of suggested revisions, and reignited decades-old arguments over the purpose of math education and the meaning of equity.
The 1,000-page framework aims to put meaning-making at the center of the math classroom, promoting a focus on problem-solving and applying math knowledge to real-world situations. It also encourages teachers to make math culturally relevant and accessible for all students, especially students of color who have been traditionally marginalized in the subject.
Read the article by Sarah Schwartz in Education Week

Judge tosses lawsuit to force California schools to disclose students’ gender identity to parents
The state has a legitimate interest in “in creating a zone of protection for transgender students and those questioning their gender identity from adverse hostile reactions, including, but not limited to, domestic abuse and bullying,” U.S. District Judge John Mendez of Sacramento wrote Monday in a ruling dismissing a constitutional challenge to the state law.
Read the article by Bob Egelko in The San Francisco Chronicle

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond “seriously exploring” a run for Governor in 2026
In a statement released on Wednesday night, Thurmond said he has already formed a committee to begin the process over the coming months. 
However, he also said that right now, he is fully focused on his job as State Superintendent.
Thurmond was sworn in as the 28th California State Superintendent of Public Instruction on January 7, 2019.
Read the article by Norafiqin Hairoman in CBS Sacramento

A Tinseltown High School Where the Syllabus is Lights, Props and Makeup
Launched last fall, the program opened with the fanfare of a blockbuster premiere, with Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto Carvalho joining actors George Clooney, Don Cheadle and Mindy Kaling. Studios, networks and streaming services like Amazon and Disney have put up $4 million to launch the program, but leaders know that to keep it going, they’ll need sustainable public funding.
The goal is to give Black, Hispanic and Asian students who might lack the right connections to break into Hollywood a pathway into good-paying jobs in the industry and make them “part of the machinery of storytelling,” said Bryan Lourd, Clooney’s agent and an executive at Creative Artists Agency.
Read the article by Linda Jacobson in The74

Across The Nation

Inside Biden’s Plan B for student loan forgiveness
As Times staff writer David G. Savage reported, advocates of forgiving student loans argue that the 1965 law gives the Education Secretary Miguel Cardona broad authority to “compromise, waive or release” students’ federal debts. Cardona has already used this act to forgive $6 billion to some borrowers. The new plan would go further.
This Plan B has downsides, however. Notably, it is time consuming. The law requires public hearings and a comment period before Cardona can move forward with canceling debt. But the administration began the regulatory process within hours of the Supreme Court decision, Cardona told reporters last week.
Read the article by Erin B. Logan in The Los Angeles Times

Americans’ confidence in higher education down sharply
Americans’ confidence in higher education has fallen to 36%, sharply lower than in two prior readings in 2015 (57%) and 2018 (48%). In addition to the 17% of U.S. adults who have “a great deal” and 19% “quite a lot” of confidence, 40% have “some” and 22% “very little” confidence.
Read the article by Megan Brenan in Gallup

After Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling, race-based scholarships under scrutiny
In Missouri, the attorney general directed all colleges to “immediately” stop considering race in scholarships, and in Kentucky, the flagship university’s president suggested the institution should do the same. Even in purple Wisconsin, the assembly’s Republican speaker alluded to forthcoming legislation that would ban race-conscious financial aid.
Read the article by Alia Wong in USA Today

How the rising cost of childcare hurts parents’ job stability
The cost of child care has increased 220% in the last three decades, according to Lisa Hamilton, president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which since 1990 has tracked this and other issues around child well-being in an annual Kids Count report.
The organization’s 2023 report, released in June, found 13% of children under the age of 5 live in a household where caregivers had to make job changes because of childcare issues.
Read the article by Nicole Ellis and Casey Kuhn of PBS

Recent school year saw little academic recovery, new study finds
NWEA’s results from the most recent school year are more pessimistic. For reasons that aren’t clear, progress stalled out, even reversed. In most grades and subjects, students actually learned at a slightly slower rate than usual. Growth in middle school reading was particularly sluggish.
Read the article by Matt Barnum in Chalkbeat

NYC’s rising graduation rates bucked national trends. A little-known grading policy may hold clues.
Ultimately, many of the city’s most vulnerable students were pushed through to the next grade level with few supports, no direct instruction, and little work completed, according to the teachers who were surveyed.
A number of teachers said the NX policy preserved the perception that students were doing okay academically. For instance, while graduation rates across the country generally stagnated between 2019 and 2021, New York City’s improved by six points. For students with disabilities, the rate jumped even more: just over nine points.
Read the article by Amanda Geduld in Chalkbeat

After her nonbinary child was harassed at school, a mom was ‘shocked’ to win Title IX ruling
The anguish became so bad that Johnson-Paquette said in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY that the family felt “ostracized and pushed out by our community.” They briefly moved out of state, but not before she filed a complaint with the federal Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in 2021.
On Thursday, the department told Johnson-Paquette it reached an agreement requiring the School District of Rhinelander to comply with Title IX and provide additional training to students and staff on recognizing discrimination, harassment, and bullying.
Read the article by Terry Collins in USA Today

NYC schools add mindful breathing to lesson plans: ‘A lifelong skill’
That new policy in the country’s largest school system demonstrates the emphasis schools across the United States are placing on mental health. Adams said breathing exercises are just as important as academic lessons and will teach students a lifelong skill.
Read the article by Kyle Melnick in The Washington Post

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