Happy Friday, Oakland! This is 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. We are back with a look at the important District 5 school board race, where the person who is elected will have a swing vote; a look at a problem we know well in Oakland — what to do with unused, surplus district property?; and an interesting story about how summer childcare falls disproportionately on mothers, severely impacting their earnings; plus more news from around The Town, state, and nation. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The San Francisco Chronicle)
OUSD is holding a special election for District 5. Here’s what you need to know, and why it matters
So far, only one person has declared their candidacy: Sasha Ritzie-Hernandez, the coordinator for Bay Area Coalition for Education Justice. She was formerly an organizer with Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network and has also worked with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters and Oakland Leaf, a nonprofit provider of afterschool and summer programs.
CheckRead the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside
Meet Nicole Taylor, the powerful foundation CEO who gives away Silicon Valley’s billions
SVCF’s first Black female CEO grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant mother who worked as a housekeeper. Taylor made her mother proud by getting into Stanford, but gave up on the idea of becoming a doctor. Instead, she worked as a middle school science teacher in Palo Alto and Oakland. Alarmed by the disparities between the two communities, she “drifted,” she says, into educational leadership and philanthropy, building an impressive resume that included positions as CEO of the East Bay Community Foundation, associate vice provost at Stanford, deputy vice president and dean of students at Arizona State University and vice president of the ASU Foundation.
Read the article by Martha Ross in SiliconValley.com
Teachers are striking for more than just pay raises
In a country where increased privatization is too often the response to its most pressing problems, common good bargaining is a provocative counterforce. It’s a promising strategy for birthing new coalitions within communities that — in the best-case scenario — might get people talking about more than just third rail topics like charters, enrollment policy, and the “reading wars.” But, like all organizing strategies, it also risks becoming little more than a label. And it may generate backlash from the parents, like those in Oakland, who didn’t understand why those issues were on the table in the first place.
As an Oakland Unified School District parent and a journalist who writes about education, I wanted to better understand the growing movement of common good demands. Here’s what I learned.
Read the article by Courtney E. Martin in Vox
$190B Later, Reason to Worry Relief Funds Won’t Curb COVID’s Academic Crisis
But as schools emerged from those nerve-wracking early days, they faced a new pressure: Spending the federal money wisely on a relatively short timeline. Many districts tapped the temporary funds for routine expenses, like payroll and membership fees for professional organizations.
The Oakland Unified School District, for example, used relief funds to make a $1.6 million payment on a $100 million state loan it received in 2003, records show. Stockton Unified, also in California, spent over $2 million on high-level central office positions, like a facilities director and its head of curriculum and instruction.
Read the article by Linda Jacobson & Asher Lehrer-Small in The74
The State of California
California housing crisis: Could public schools’ unused property be a solution?
Across the Bay Area and other parts of the state, there are shuttered buildings, vacant plots, parking lots and built-out space leased to nonprofits or private entities. In San Francisco alone, the city school district owns the land sitting under the Westfield mall in San Francisco and the 300,000 square feet of dirt and weeds at two undeveloped plots where dogs often romp on district-owned land worth at least $400 a square foot.
But the amount of underutilized, surplus or completely unused property is only increasing as the number of public school students continues to shrink, with the loss of 310,000 state public school students since 2019, a trend propelled and maintained by a declining birth rate, the pandemic and a high-cost of living.
Read the article by Jill Tucker of The San Francisco Chronicle
Legal case argues state educators let down disadvantaged children during pandemic
But low-income students of color in the Bay Area and beyond who sued California in 2020 — accusing education officials of failing to provide the equipment, services and support they needed to keep pace with wealthier classmates — say the state not only failed to protect them during the pandemic but also still owes them extra help. The lawsuit doesn’t ask for a dollar amount. Instead, lawyers say they’re looking for actual repairs: high-dose tutoring, literacy coaches and an accountability system to ensure the students’ needs are met.
Read the article by Nanette Asimov in The San Francisco Chronicle
This is the only large county in California with a rising number of kids
The data shows that Placer County saw a 1.3% increase in young children from 2020 to 2022 — an increase of nearly 600. San Francisco and Los Angeles counties, by contrast, both saw decreases of more than 8% over the same period.
Read the article by Adriana Rezel in The San Francisco Chronicle
California school superintendent kicked out, ‘verbally attacked’ at school board meeting
School Board President Sonja Shaw said she kicked him about because he spoke more than the allotted time. During the meeting, she repeatedly told Thurmond to “sit down!” and it wasn’t his meeting.Shaw added: “We think he is a danger to our students. He continues to push things that pervert children, and he continues to push out parents and bring in policies that create division between families.”
Read the article by Lisa Fernandez of KTVU
Across The Nation
Stanford President will resign after report found flaws in his research
The review, conducted by an outside panel of scientists, refuted the most serious claim involving Dr. Tessier-Lavigne’s work — that an important 2009 Alzheimer’s study was the subject of an investigation that found falsified data and that Dr. Tessier-Lavigne had covered it up.
The panel concluded that the claims “appear to be mistaken” and that there was no evidence of falsified data or that Dr. Tessier-Lavigne had otherwise engaged in fraud.
Read the article by Stephanie Saul of The New York Times
Working moms feel the summer strain. Why a lack of child care options hit women hard.
St-Esprit’s summer child care calculus is relatable to American parents. As of 2022, 65% of married couples with children had both parents employed, and 67.9% of mothers of young children (and 94.4% of fathers) participate in the labor force. This leaves millions of parents left to figure out child care all year round. During the school year, six hours a day of school plus after-school options ease that struggle for many (over 90% of American children are enrolled in free public school), but free summer programming affiliated with those schools is competitive and not universally available. During the summer especially, families are left to fend for themselves and it’s often mothers who find themselves bridging that gap — to the tune of $300,000 in missed earnings.
Read the article by Elena Sheppard in Yahoo
New Study: Schools prioritizing social-emotional learning see strong academic benefits
A recent study out of the University of Chicago showed high schools that prioritized social- emotional development had double the positive long-term impact on students as compared to those that focused solely on improving test scores.
As part of their work, researchers determined school’s effectiveness based upon its impact on students’ social-emotional development, test scores and behaviors. They concluded that the most effective schools provide a welcoming environment for students, an experience that shapes their later years.
Read the article by Jo Napolitano in The74
Wesleyan, other universities end legacy admissions policies after affirmative action’s end
Colleges and universities across the U.S. are moving to update their admissions policies, with some choosing to end preferences given to applicants who are considered “legacy” students.
Wesleyan University, a selective liberal arts school, announced this week that it will get rid of its legacy admissions program that fast-tracks prospective students who have alumni or donor family members.
Read the article by Kate Perez of USA Today
The quality of American teaching has declined, study says
The quality of classroom teaching plunged during the pandemic, contributing to the standstill in academic recovery for students across the country, according to a report released Wednesday.The study, by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a nonpartisan research and policy organization, said participating school districts found it “almost impossible” to implement their recovery plans, citing staffing shortages and obstacles to teacher training. Both took a toll on instructional practices.
Read the article by Donna St. George in The Washington Post