The Oakland Ed Week in Review 8/5/23-8/11/23

Hello, Oakland, it’s 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, school in Oakland is back in session; a housing initiative aims to keep Black teachers in Oakland; immigrant parents in San Francisco can vote in the city’s school board elections after a court ruling; and 1 in 4 kids are chronically absent in schools across the country, a huge spike from pre-Covid; plus more news from around The Town, state, and nation. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The Oaklandside)


Oakland Unified School District students, families excited as classes resume
Prior to 2018, Oakland Unified School District started school towards the end of August. In those years, the fall semester extended into January, which meant that students didn’t take their fall semester exams until they came back to school after winter break.
It also meant that high schoolers had less instructional time in the spring before Advanced Placement tests, which are scheduled by the College Board and taken on the same dates all across the country, in early May.
Additionally, OUSD teachers are paid on a 10-month schedule. When school started later in August, it meant that although teachers worked in August, they weren’t paid until September.
Read the article by Jose Martinez in CBS Bay Area

Oakland schools back in session with dipping enrollment, crossing guard shortage
Parents, especially, are hoping for a smooth start to the academic season.
Hoover Elementary School parent Lleisha Hayes said she wants to make sure her child is safe and gets a good education.
In spring, teachers went on a 10-day strike, which was resolved in time for the final week of school.
OUSD teachers now have a new contract, which gives first-time teachers $10,000 more than they did last year.
Librarian Kristen Flores said that with the raise and school improvements, she hopes OUSD will be able to recruit excellent teachers.
Read the article by Allie Rasmus in KTVU2

New housing initiative aims to keep Black teachers in Oakland
According to a press release, some select Black teachers in the Bay Area will have access to brand new apartments thanks to a collaboration between Riaz Capital, a pioneer in providing affordable, high-quality housing for middle-class families in the region, and Urban Ed Academy, a leading nonprofit organization assisting Black men who want to work in education.
The alliance will initially accommodate 10 teachers, who will reside at Artthaus Six, Riaz Capital’s most recent development in Oakland. There are plans to provide more housing options, the press release states.
Read the article in The Grio

Oakland’s $7M in soda tax money isn’t being spent wisely, board says
The board recommended that the remaining 40% of the tax, roughly $2.8 million per year, be divided three ways: city agencies like the Human Services Department and Oakland Parks, Recreation and Youth Development would get 16%. Another 16% would go to the Oakland Unified School District. The remaining 8% would be used to cover administrative costs.
However, according to the advisory board and analysts from SPUR, a San Francisco-based non-profit public policy organization, the amount that the council ultimately set aside for community-based organizations was much less—28% instead of 60%.
Read the article by Ayla Burnett 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

Court grants immigrant parents right to vote in San Francisco school elections
A court of appeals in San Francisco decided in favor of immigrant parents’ right to vote in the city’s school board elections.
San Francisco voters first passed a measure in 2016 allowing all parents of children living in the city to vote in school board elections, regardless of their citizenship status. Prior to that measure, only U.S. citizens could vote in school board elections, and not permanent residents, or green-card holders, immigrants with work visas, or undocumented immigrants. Only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state and most local elections.
Read the article by Zaidee Stavely in EdSource

Bay Area schools wrestle with teacher shortage
The San Francisco Unified School District, or SFUSD, which is set to begin its school year on August 16th, is still looking to find more than 140 teachers before the first day of school.
In years past, school districts across the Bay could count on being able to fill all vacant positions by the first day of school. But with the increasing cost-of-living, low pay – and the price of teacher credentialing tests being huge hiring barriers – SFUSD is implementing their own credentialing programs.
Read the article by Paul C. Kelly Campos in KALW

California’s dramatic jump in chronically absent students part of a nationwide surge
With schools fully reopened, millions of students were calling out sick in 2021-22 at a much higher level than before the pandemic, according to national data compiled and analyzed by Stanford University education professor Thomas S. Dee in partnership with The Associated Press. EdSource collaborated in the effort with an analysis of California data. The same trend surfaced for California, where the percentage of chronically absent students zoomed from the pre-pandemic rate of 12.1% in 2018-19 to 30% in 2021-22.
Dee’s analysis found that since the pandemic the number of students who were chronically absent nearly doubled to about 13.6 million, with 1.8 million of them in California.
Read the article by Betty Marquez Rosales, Mallika Seshadri and Daniel J. Willis in EdSource 

San Jose mayor targets homeless living near schools
For months Mahan has been forthcoming about his plans to enact no encampment zones. But in April, he said he wouldn’t implement the ban until San Jose had concrete solutions, like his plans for alternative housing solutions, of which the city is still short.
Mahan is now flipping his stance, taking a hardline approach and saying he will “absolutely not” wait until his temporary housing goal is reached to enforce the proposed ordinance if it’s passed by the San Jose City Council. The proposed ordinance will come before the Rules and Open Government Committee Aug. 9 before it can be heard by the full council.
Read the article by Ben Erwin in San Jose Spotlight

Across The Nation

Millions of kids are missing weeks of school as attendance tanks across the US
Across the country, students have been absent at record rates since schools reopened during the pandemic. More than a quarter of students missed at least 10% of the 2021-22 school year, making them chronically absent, according to the most recent data available. Before the pandemic, only 15% of students missed that much school.
All told, an estimated 6.5 million additional students became chronically absent, according to the data, which was compiled by Stanford University education professor Thomas Dee in partnership with The Associated Press. Taken together, the data from 40 states and Washington, D.C., provides the most comprehensive accounting of absenteeism nationwide. Absences were more prevalent among Latino, Black and low-income students, according to Dee’s analysis.
Read the article by Bianca Vazquez Toness in The Associated Press

Hawaii Wildfires Thrust Educators Into Disaster Response Roles
“Honestly, there are just no words,” said Lora-Lea Grando, a vice principal at Maui High School, who spoke as she worked at a makeshift evacuation shelter in the school. “We can’t even think about school at this point. [Hundreds of students] won’t have a place to go, and we haven’t even processed what that looks like.”
Officials in the statewide school district prepared for the possible loss of King Kamehameha III Elementary in Lahaina, a historic region most heavily affected by the blaze, Superintendent Keith T. Hayashi wrote in an update Wednesday night.
Read the article by Evie Blad and Lydia McFarlane in Education Week

A focus on phonics or comprehension? What reading research should look like in practice
As schools around the nation scramble to respond to the alarm bells set off by falling scores on “the nation’s report card,” we—two university professors who teach reading courses and who are former elementary teachers—are watching. We get it. We, too, want to see better results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. We, too, worry about schools not effectively teaching what many believe is the building block of reading instruction, phonics. That needs to be corrected. But phonics, which has made its way to the center of the “science of reading” movement, is neither the whole problem nor the whole solution. That’s because phonics only focuses on sounding out words. It does not support readers to understand or analyze those words.
Read the opinion piece by Elena Forzani and Andrea Bienarticle in Education Week

Asian American students face tougher admissions odds than their White peers, study says
Asian American students are 28% less likely to be accepted at selective colleges than their White counterparts with similar academic qualifications, according to an August working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The gap was worse for students of South Asian descent, who were 49% less likely to gain admission than their White peers with comparable applications. East Asian and Southeast Asian applicants’ odds were 17% lower than their White peers.
Much of the disparity stemmed from legacy admissions policies that favor the children of alumni, who were more likely to be White, the paper said.
Read the article by Laura Spitalniak in Higher Ed Dive

Majority of parents spend 20% or more of household income on child care, report finds
Two-thirds of parents, 67%, spend 20% or more of their household income on child care, according to a recent report by that surveyed 3,000 U.S. parents. That’s up from 51% who reported spending that much in 2022.
While 79% of families anticipate spending more than $9,600 per child this year, many are spending significantly more. On average, families spend 27% of their household income on child care, which for 59% of parents surveyed means shelling out $18,000 a year per child, found.
Read the article by Anna Teresa Sola in CNBC

In over 15 states, schools can still paddle students as punishment
Critics say the practice is underreported. It also varies by race and gender, with boys far more likely to get hit than girls. Black boys, in particular, were twice as likely to be paddled or struck at school as White boys across the United States, according to federal officials. Students with disabilities were also at greater risk.
Read the article by Donna St. George in The Washington Post

Amid back-to-school hiring challenges, new data show state recruitment and retention policies pay little attention to teachers of color
Despite robust research that shows that teachers of color increase positive academic, social-emotional, and behavioral outcomes for all students, particularly students of color, new data and analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) suggest a variety of ways state education leaders and policymakers could do more to increase teacher diversity.
The new NCTQ report, State of the States 2023: Policies to Increase Teacher Diversity, shows the extent to which states are prioritizing teacher diversity in policy and funding across four key areas: (1) building a stronger pipeline of future teachers of color; (2) offering incentives to attract candidates of color; (3) supporting, retaining, and developing teachers of color; and (4) using data to set goals and track progress.
Read the report by the National Center for Teacher Quality

To solve teacher shortages, schools turn to custodians, bus drivers and aides
“Grow your ow­­n’ has really caught on fire,” said Edwards, in part because of research showing that about 85% of teachers teach within 40 miles of where they grew up. But while these programs are increasingly popular, she says it isn’t clear what the teacher outcomes are in terms of effectiveness or retention.
Nationwide, there are at least 36,500 teacher vacancies, along with approximately 163,000 positions held by underqualified teachers, according to estimates by Tuan Nguyen, an associate professor of education at Kansas State University. At Wyandotte, Principal Celeste Pipes has three uncertified teachers out of 26.
Read the article by Kavitha Cardoza in USA Today

The man behind Florida’s new Black history standards
Allen has repeatedly spoken out against affirmative action, and during his leadership of the Virginia higher education council he also questioned the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs. During his chairmanship of the federal civil rights body, he was castigated by fellow commissioners for the title of a 1989 speech, “Blacks? Animals? Homosexuals? What is a Minority?”
Read the article by Lori Rozsa in The Washington Post

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