It’s Friday and time for 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. Here’s what’s going on this week: the County Superintendent calls out OUSD over budget mismanagement; The Cox Academy community finally secures $28 million in funding through Prop 51 to make safety upgrades; Diane Feinstein pushed for stricter gun laws to stop school shootings – the legacy of the longtime state Senator who died yesterday is explored; 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 school district called out for ‘troubling’ pattern of irresponsible spending
Oakland — with about 33,000 students — has long had about twice as many schools as districts with similar enrollment.
The numbers put an exclamation point on state and county officials’ concerns that the district may struggle in the coming years to pay the bills given the number of schools with half-filled classrooms. These shrinking and under-enrolled schools contribute to the district’s escalating costs, which will continue to grow amid significant raises for teachers and other staff won after a strike last school year.
Read the article by Jill Tucker in The San Francisco Chronicle
East Oakland charter school to receive $28M for badly needed campus upgrades
Cox Academy applied for the Prop. 51 money last year through the state’s Charter School Facilities Program. Cox’s building at 99th and Bancroft avenues is owned by OUSD, and the school shares a campus with the district-run Reach Academy.
“Last rainy season, instead of my students coming into a classroom to learn, they came into a classroom worried about getting wet by the amount of leaks that are in my portable,” said Mariela Nuñez, a fourth grade teacher, at Wednesday’s school board meeting prior to the directors’ vote. “This is an opportunity for our students to feel their community is more than the sirens and gunshots they hear on the daily. This is an opportunity for us to create changes on our school campus that will make them feel like they matter as Oakland students. So make the choice that will make a positive environment for our Oakland students.”
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside
Oakland Roots and Soul teams raising money to upgrade East Oakland soccer field
The Oakland Roots soccer team is teaming up with non-profit America SCORES to raise funds to upgrade a soccer field at Brookfield Elementary in East Oakland.
The kids at the school have been playing on asphalt for decades, and they often hurt themselves playing soccer as a result. With the support of the Oakland Roots and Soul, America SCORES Bay Area is raising $175,000 for turf to play on.
Read the article by Crystal Bailey in KTVU
Early childhood teachers are hard to find. Oakland schools have a plan to ‘grow their own’
The pathway is part of several “Growing Our Own” programs within OUSD that focus on training students and staff within the district to fill roles requiring a credential. The programs also put an emphasis on training and placing people who grew up in Oakland, attended Oakland schools, who can bring that familiarity with them to a job. It’s also one of several robust career education programs offered by OUSD, in which students are encouraged to take college and career courses, go on field trips, and complete paid internships in specific fields.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside
Oakland City Council commits to funding 24 prevention programs to address violent crime
With a unanimous vote Sept. 19, the council awarded the DVP a $28 million budget, allowing it to fully fund 24 violence prevention and intervention organizations for the next two years. A support campaign waged by Oakland Unified School District high school students and faculty helped secure this funding.
Read the article by Raymond Matthews in Oakland North
The State of California
Dianne Feinstein’s fight to stop gun violence in schools central to her legacy
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died Sept. 29 after five decades in politics, is being mourned as a “trailblazer” and “unwavering ally” of advocates for stricter gun laws to stop school shootings.
Read the article by Alyson Klein in Education Week
LAUSD moves to bar charter schools from scores of campuses, citing tensions
The tensions and competing needs of L.A. schools — especially more than 100 serving academically struggling, low-income students — were at the heart of a resolution approved by the school board Tuesday that limits where charters can rent on-campus classroom space from the district.
The action marks one of the most significant changes to local charter school policy since the state first required school systems to offer space to charters more than 20 years ago. On Tuesday, in the run-up to the vote, a senior attorney for the California Charter Schools Assn. threatened litigation to protect access to campuses.
Read the article by Howard Blume of The Los Angeles Times
California babies are predominantly children of color, report shows
Roughly three out of four California babies are children of color, according to the State of Babies Yearbook: 2023, a national report published by Zero to Three, a research and advocacy organization.
Other key points in this report include the grim truth that two million infants and toddlers in this country are living in poverty, almost 39% of babies live in impoverished households and 14% of households with infants and toddlers are food insecure. In California, roughly 72% of babies live in families with low incomes.
Read the article by Karen D’Souza of EdSource
Gov. Newsom signs law raising taxes on guns and ammunition to pay for school safety
The federal government already taxes the sale of guns and ammunition at either 10% or 11%, depending on the type of gun. The law Newsom signed adds another 11% tax on top of that — making it the only state with its own tax on guns and ammunition, according to the gun control advocacy group Brady.
Read the article by The Associated Press
California schools superintendent Tony Thurmond joins the race for governor in 2026
“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 Elissa Miolene in The East Bay Times
Across The Nation
Why are prices rising more for lower-income college students than their higher-income peers?
Bradley is among nearly 700 universities and colleges that, over the last decade, have raised the prices paid by their lowest-income students more than the prices paid by their highest-income ones, according to federal data analyzed by The Hechinger Report.
Lower-income students generally still pay less than higher-income ones. But the increase in college costs is falling more heavily on families that are likely the least able to absorb it, as federal and state financial aid fails to keep up with rising prices, and colleges shift institutional aid to wealthier families they know can pay at least a part of the tuition.
Read the article by Jon Marcus and Fazil Khan in The Hechinger Report
Home schooling today is less religious and more diverse, poll finds
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 Laura Meckler, Peter Jamison, Emily Guskin and Scott Clement in The Washington Post
14 colleges and universities are lauded for boosting Latino enrollment and retention rates
Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit focused on helping Latinos complete college, awarded its 2023 Seal of Excelencia to institutions of higher education that “demonstrate intentionality and impact in serving Latino students while serving all.” The designation is for three years.
Read the opinion piece by Emi Tuyetnhi Tran in NBC News
White House issues much-anticipated rule to weed out high-debt, predatory colleges
At a time of mounting student loan debt and growing skepticism over a college degree’s worth, the rule aims to ensure students who sacrifice years of time, energy and money on higher education complete their programs with qualifications that justify those sacrifices. The administration estimates the rule will protect nearly 700,000 students annually who would’ve otherwise enrolled at one of close to 1,700 low-performing programs.
Read the article by Alia Wong in USA Today
Will top schools continue ‘legacy’ admission preferences? Many say yes.
Yale, Cornell, Duke, Brown, Vanderbilt and Emory universities, as well as the University of Pennsylvania, all confirmed this week that they would consider the legacy ties of high school seniors who apply to enter next fall. Dartmouth College had said the same last month. Harvard University’s admissions website continues to state that “Among a group of similarly distinguished applicants, the children of Harvard College alumni/ae may receive an additional look.”
Read the article by Nick Anderson in The Washington Post
Many US schools aren’t teaching about climate change. Students aren’t happy about that
While a number of states have changed their standards and curricula to address climate change, she worries about all the students at schools that lack the resources or the political will to make it a formal and interdisciplinary part of the learning experience. Polls have found a majority of teachers still don’t talk about the topic in class, usually saying it’s outside their wheelhouse.
Read the article by Alia Wong in USA Today
Why a new attack on small class size doesn’t add up
In an op-ed in several publications, Bloomberg says students don’t need smaller classes but better schools — as if the two were entirely unrelated — and he ignores research, such as a 2014 review of major research that found class size matters a lot, especially for low-income and minority students.
This post, written by Leonie Haimson, looks at the issue, and Bloomberg’s position. Haimson is executive director of Class Size Matters, a nonprofit organization that advocates for smaller classes in New York City and across the nation as a key driver of education equity.
Read the opinion piece by Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post