The Oakland Ed Week in Review 8/12/23-8/18/23

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. This week, a major shocker in Oakland: both candidates for the District 5 school board election have been ruled ineligible due to an error by city officials about which boundary to use; state Attorney General Rob Bonta (rightly) comes out against a school district’s transgender policy; and make sure not to miss the uplifting story of a Black student who graduated high school at 12(!) and college at 14(!); plus more news from around The Town, state, and nation. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: Oakland North)


Major city error leaves no candidates in Oakland school board election
The two—and only—candidates running for Oakland’s empty District 5 school board seat have been told that they no longer qualify, due to an error by the city regarding district boundaries, the Alameda County registrar said Thursday.
The mistake, first reported by the East Bay Times, stems from confusion over the city’s new district boundaries. Because the eventual winner of the special election in District 5 will be serving out the remainder of former D5 Director Mike Hutchinson’s term that began in 2020, both the candidates and the residents they are required to collect signatures from to qualify for the ballot must live within the old District 5 boundaries, not the new boundaries that were approved last year.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

Dozens of tutors needed to help OUSD kids overcome COVID learning loss
During the school year, between 125 and 150 students are enrolled in Path2Math tutoring at five Oakland schools. In the most recent school year, 134 students completed 15 or more sessions with a tutor through Succeeding by Reading.
Path2Math, Succeeding by Reading, and Family Bridge need dozens more volunteers to tutor students. As the new school year started this week, Wade-Green, director of Path2Math, said the program is seeking at least 30 more tutors. Succeeding by Reading is seeking about 50 tutors.
Read the article by Aysha Pettigrew in Oakland North

Oakland schools made a promise to Black students – it’s time to deliver
Removal of the police was always intended as a first step toward ending systemic racism and violence in our schools. We must also remove the implicit bias and anti-Black racism that still run rampant in our schools, while investing in critical supports – including expanded academic and mental health services – that will enable all Black students to succeed. The ultimate vision is to transform schools into safe havens, where Black students can learn, create, grow and develop healthy lives for generations to come.
Read the article by Ebony Sinnamon-Johnson and Desiree McSwain-Mims in The San Francisco Bay View

OUSD once had a school dedicated to the arts. Former students reunited to remember it
Chiodo isn’t the only artist to have gotten a start at Renaissance Art School, a public middle and high school that operated near Laney College in the 70s and 80s with a curriculum centered around the arts. Many of its graduates went on to art careers, while others became business owners, teachers, writers, lawyers, or therapists.
On Saturday, dozens of the school’s alumni gathered for a reunion at Porter’s home in West Oakland to reminisce about their teenage years and celebrate their accomplishments in the 40 or 50 years since they’d attended school together.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

Homies Empowerment is on track to open its Freedom School, despite burglary
In the wake of a break-in and burglary last weekend, which resulted in the loss of laptops, projectors, a power saw, and microphones, Homies Empowerment has received an outpouring of community support. Only a few days after launching a fundraiser to replace the stolen items and pay for additional security measures, the organization has received more than $13,000 in donations.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

The State of California

Governor defends California record on parental rights, outlines state’s investment in education
“There is no state in America that supports local control and parental engagement like the state of California,” Newsom said from the school library at Miwok Village Elementary. “No one comes close.”
The protesters at the Capitol are opposed to proposed legislation that would make it more difficult for school districts to ban textbooks and other instructional materials. If passed, districts could be fined if they do not provide books and materials that accurately reflect the diversity of the state’s students.
Read the article by Diana Lambert in EdSource

Attorney General Rob Bonta ‘deeply disturbed’ by Murrieta Valley schools’ transgender policy
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has criticized the Murrieta Valley school board’s decision Thursday night, Aug. 10, to approve the notifying of parents if their student is transgender.
“I am deeply disturbed to learn another school district has put at risk the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students by adopting a forced outing policy,” Bonta said in the Friday, Aug. 11, statement.
Read the article by Sarah Hoffman in The East Bay Times

Across The Nation

Pandemic-era summer school boosts math scores, but barely makes a dent in steep learning loss
So has summer school worked as a learning loss recovery strategy?
A new study, the most comprehensive analysis to date of pandemic-era summer learning, says the answer is: kind of.
Students who attended school over  the summer of 2022 saw their math scores improve, according to the research. This offers some of the first concrete evidence that a key learning loss strategy is working. However, those gains were modest, and there were no improvements in reading. And since only a fraction of students went to summer school, it barely made a dent in total learning loss.
Read the article by Matt Barnum in Chalkbeat

New Study: Kids who scored worst on NAEP missed the most school before the test
We can’t know exactly how many students taking the NAEP were chronically absent. But each time the test is administered, students are asked how many days they missed in the previous month. Education researcher Alan Ginsburg, a former director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Policy and Program Studies, analyzed the results of that question from the past several years and found that the rate of low-income fourth-grade NAEP test-takers who reported missing three or more days the month before taking the exam climbed from 22% in 2015 to 41% in 2022.
Read the article by Phyllis W. Jordan in The74 

Schools afraid of gun violence are requiring clear backpacks
When Asher starts school Tuesday, he’ll swap his Super Mario bag for one with a lot less personality: a clear backpack with orange seams. After officials at his Michigan district recovered guns on middle and elementary school students four times last year, they temporarily banned backpacks. Now they are pushing students to carry clear ones. Chelsea Sheneman, Asher’s mother, decided to buy it despite her mixed feelings.
Read the article by Moriah Balingit and Nicole Asbury in The Washington Post

Arkansas schools will teach AP African American Studies despite state’s objections
AP African American Studies will be taught after all at the six schools in Arkansas that planned to offer it until state officials said last week students taking the course wouldn’t earn high school credit for it and raised concerns about whether it’s a form of “indoctrination.”
Read the article by Nirvi Shah in USA TODAY

Texas teen was told girls of color couldn’t do well. She’s graduating from college at 14.
“I’ve always tried to prove that girls of color … they can do what they put their minds to,” she told USA TODAY last week. “Being able to graduate at the age of 12 from high school and going into college, I just want to inspire other girls to follow their dreams.”
Read the article by Saleen Martin in USA TODAY

Before Trump, D.A. Fani Willis targeted teachers in Atlanta cheating scandal
As an assistant district attorney in 2013, Willis turned heads in one of her first big cases: She helped convene a grand jury that indicted decorated Superintendent Beverly Hall and nearly three dozen other educators for cheating on state standardized tests. In the end, Willis brought a dozen cases to trial, with a jury convicting 11.
This week, Willis invoked the same statute — Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, Act — to indict Trump and 18 others in an alleged plot to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.
Read the article by Greg Toppo in The74

For many home-schoolers, parents are no longer doing the teaching
For many years, home schooling has conjured images of parents and children working together at the kitchen table. The new world of home schooling often looks very different: pods, co-ops, microschools and hybrid schools, often outside the home, as well as real-time and recorded virtual instruction. For a growing number of students, education now exists somewhere on a continuum between school and home, in person and online, professional and amateur.
Read the article by Laura Meckler in The Washington Post

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