The Oakland Ed Week in Review 9/16/23-9/22/23

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: a discussion about campus safety dominates the most recent OUSD school board meeting; do you call it ‘Cal’ or ‘Berkeley’ – and does it really matter?; we also have some thought-provoking features for you this weekend, including one on a South Carolina teacher returning to school after being reprimanded for teaching a book by Ta-Nehisi Coates; plus  more news from around The Town, state, and nation. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: San Francisco Examiner) 


After bomb threat and shooting, calls for more secure Oakland schools
“The concern and disruptions that these incidents have caused our school communities cannot be understated,” said Dexter Moore Jr., the superintendent’s chief of staff. “And I want to make it clear that the physical, social-emotional, and cybersecurity (safety) for every student, educator, and family in our district is a critical priority that we recognize with a great deal of urgency and care.”
OUSD’s facilities and buildings and grounds teams have been working to install door controls and security cameras at schools across the district, prioritizing schools in neighborhoods with high violent crime rates, Moore said. In recent years, 65 schools have installed door controls, 235 new cameras have been installed, and 275 existing cameras have been repaired. District teams are also ensuring that fences along campus perimeters are intact, Moore added.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

Oakland school district issues “poor air quality” protocols
The Oakland Unified School District said Wednesday the air quality in Oakland is on the edge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s categories of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” and “Unhealthy.” In response, the district will be instituting poor air quality protocols. Staff are instructed to close the doors and windows of classrooms, turn HEPA filters in classrooms and offices to “high,” keep students with sensitivities to air quality, such as asthma, indoors, and move all activities indoors at an air quality index (AQI) of 151 or higher.
Read the article by Ryan Mense in KRON

Oakland private school wins fight for giant expansion after years of neighborhood pushback
The Head-Royce School has won permission to expand their Oakland campus from 14 to 22 acres, despite their neighbors’ concern that the expansion could create additional wildfire risk.
Read the article by Joe Kukura in SFist 

The State of California

These Cal State colleges are harder to get into than some UCs
UCLA and UC Berkeley are often considered the crown jewels of California public universities. Those two schools boast the lowest admissions rates among California public schools, with three other UCs — Irvine, San Diego and Santa Barbara — rounding out the top five.
But following close behind and ranking sixth-most selective is Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, admitting 30% of applicants in 2022, an admissions rate that rivals that of several University of California schools, according to a new data analysis from the Chronicle. That number makes it the most competitive school in the California State University system.
Read the article by Danielle Echeverria and Nami Sumida in The San Francisco Chronicle

Southern California student passes out pride flags to protest “targeted” school policies
A transgender student in Temecula is distributing hundreds of LGBTQ pride flags to protest new school district policies he says target LGBTQ students.
Moxxie Childs, who goes by “Flag Boy” online, is documenting his efforts on TikTok, with now over 700,000 views. He has passed out over 600 flags, donated through his Amazon wishlist.
Read the article by Victoria Ivie and Allison Vergara in The East Bay Times

SFUSD teacher shortage is far worse than peer districts, data shows
The 49,000-student San Francisco Unified School District began this year with more teacher vacancies than Los Angeles Unified, which serves 480,000 more students than SFUSD and is the second-largest school district in the country.
Read the article by Allyson Aleksey in The San Francisco Examiner

Do you call it Cal or Berkeley? UC school may rebrand to Cal Berkeley for sports
“Having two distinct identities for one entity is highly problematic from a branding perspective,” the task force wrote. “Some people do not realize that Berkeley and Cal are the same university, which means that the breadth of the institution is lost on them. Others may know that it is one university but continue to form independent associations with each name due to the way the identity is bifurcated.”
Read the article by Chuck Shilken in The Los Angeles Times

Across The Nation

Her students reported her for a lesson on race. Can she trust them again?
Reading Coates’s book felt like “reading hate propaganda towards white people,” one student wrote.
At least two parents complained, too. Within days, school administrators ordered Wood to stop teaching the lesson. They placed a formal letter of reprimand in her file. It instructed her to keep teaching “without discussing this issue with your students.”
Wood finished out the spring semester feeling defeated and betrayed — not only by her students, but by the school system that raised her. The high school Wood teaches at is the same one she attended.
Read the article by Hannah Natanson in The Washington Post 

How a Yale student’s rape accusation exposed her to a defamation lawsuit
Normally, such a lawsuit would not have much of a chance. In Connecticut and other states, witnesses in such “quasi-judicial” hearings carry absolute immunity against defamation lawsuits.
But the Connecticut Supreme Court in June gave Mr. Khan’s suit the greenlight to proceed. It ruled that the Yale hearing was not quasi-judicial because it lacked due process, including the ability to cross-examine witnesses.
Read the article by Vimal Patel in The New York Times

States should fix underfunding of land-grant HBCUs, Biden administration says
“Unacceptable funding inequities have forced many of our nation’s distinguished historically Black colleges and universities to operate with inadequate resources and delay critical investments in everything from campus infrastructure to research and development to student support services,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement Monday. “To compete in the 21st century we need state leaders to step up and live up to their legally required obligations to our historically Black land-grant institutions.”
Read the article by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel in The Washington Post

The agony of the school car line
I’ve long been a (smug) car-line conscientious objector. Either my kids take the bus to their school in Cleveland, or we bike. When my kids take the bus, I marvel at how much time I save, and I suspect that if the U.S. did not have a long tradition of busing children to school, we wouldn’t provide this service now. (Likewise, if a progressive representative or governor introduced the idea of public libraries now for the first time, people would say the idea was too radical.) When we bike, we have to exercise extreme vigilance in navigating the roads. But that vigilance is worthwhile. I love rolling past all the cars and pulling right up to the front gate, where I can interact with the few other parents who have opted out.
Read the opinion piece by Angie Schmitt in The Atlantic

Texas teacher fired after assigning graphic novel based on Anne Frank’s diary
The Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District announced that a teacher had assigned an eighth-grade class to read a passage from “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation,” which includes passages Frank wrote about female and male genitalia, and a possible attraction to women. The unabridged version of Frank’s diary has been removed from schools in Texas and Florida this year after complaints from parents over the book’s sexual content.
Read the article by Timothy Bella in The Washington Post

8 things we learned this year about America’s most innovative high schools
Instead, thousands of young people now attend high school each morning in facilities that more closely resemble workplaces, professional training grounds and research labs. Quite often, young people are in actual workplaces for part of their school day, either as apprentices or taking part in something resembling career tourism, trying out jobs to see what fires their imaginations and fits their tastes.
Read the article by Greg Toppo and Emmeline Zhao in The 74million

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