Welcome 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. In this week’s edition, a look at diversity and inclusion groups in Oakland Unified and their impact in the wake of the bomb threat at Chabot Elementary; one conservative school board in California rejects a resolution to affirm LGBTQ students’ rights while another bans the Pride flag; and we hear a lot about the ‘science of reading’ – what about the ‘science of math’?; plus more news from around The Town, state, and nation. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The East Bay Times)
Diversity groups in Oakland schools provide space for difficult conversations about race, power, and privilege
Two weeks ago, the diversity and inclusion group at Chabot Elementary in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood was sent racist and threatening emails after it had organized a playdate for students of color at the school. The threats culminated with a bomb threat that forced the school to be evacuated and closed for a day.
Parents involved in diversity and equity groups who spoke to The Oaklandside said the backlash hasn’t discouraged them. In fact, it only further highlighted the value of these groups.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside
Student homelessness in OUSD grew nearly 70% in 3 years
The number of homeless students attending Oakland Unified schools grew nearly 70% over the last three years—up to 1,780 students in 2023—a significant increase over years prior to the pandemic, when the number hovered around 1,000.
Several factors—including Bay Area housing costs, a growing number of unaccompanied immigrant children, and changes in how the district collects housing data—are responsible for the increase, according to Trish Anderson who runs the McKinney-Vento office at OUSD, which provides resources to unhoused students.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside
The State of California
Family of a student killed in a bullying incident in Moreno Valley reaches $27-million settlement
Attorneys for Diego’s aunt and uncle, Juana and Felipe Salcedo, said Wednesday that the settlement of the wrongful death lawsuit filed in October 2019 against the school district was a “very bittersweet” victory. The Salcedos — who raised Diego as his legal guardians — say they had complained about bullying to school officials for at least a year before he was killed, and had received anti-bullying literature from district officials.
Read the article by Andrew J. Campa in The Los Angeles Times
Calfiornia school board rejects resolution to affirm LGBTQ students’ rights
But a resolution affirming that right for LGBTQ students in the Temecula Valley Unified School District fell short by a 3-2 vote Tuesday night, Sept. 12, with the board’s conservative majority questioning its necessity, focus and wording.
Read the article by Jeff Horseman in the East Bay Times
Fallout from Sunol school ban on Pride flag, as parents keep kids home and consider recall
At the meeting, the back and forth between board member Ted Romo, who opposed the flag resolution, and board members Ryan Jergensen and Linda Hurley, both of whom supported it, got heated. According to Sylvester, opponents of the ban are now considering a recall effort against Jergensen and Hurley.
Read the article by Will McCarthy in The East Bay Times
This California high school includes sustainability and green jobs in its curriculum
But Porterville has this going for it: Its school district pioneered a partnership with Climate Action Pathways for Schools, or CAPS, a nonprofit that aims to help high school students become more environmentally aware while simultaneously lowering their school’s carbon footprint and earning wages.
Read the article by Anya Kamenetz in The Hechinger Report
Across The Nation
The ‘science of reading’ swept reforms into classrooms nationwide. What about math?
As American schools work to turn around math scores that plunged during the pandemic, some researchers are pushing for more attention to a set of research-based practices for teaching math. The movement has passionate backers, but is still in its infancy, especially compared with the phonics-based “science of reading” that has inspired changes in how classrooms across the country approach literacy.
Read the article by Sharon Lurye The Associated Press
Amid reading wars, teachers college will close a star professor’s shop
For four decades, her organization, the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and her widely purchased curriculum inspired passion among many educators. But there was also fierce pushback. Critics said Dr. Calkins downplayed phonics and overlooked a large body of scientific research on how children become skilled readers.
Now her group has been dissolved by Teachers College, Columbia University, according to a recent announcement. Her organization, which was housed on campus and consisted of a nonprofit branch and several private companies, has long shared some of its revenues from consulting and publications with the college.
Read the article by Dana Goldstein in The New York Times
Child care is about to get more expensive, as federal funds dry up
Now, with the last of that money expiring this month, an estimated 70,000 child-care programs — or about 1 in 3 — could close as a result of lost funding, causing 3.2 million children to lose care, according to a study by the Century Foundation, a liberal think tank. That translates to $10.6 billion in lost U.S. economic activity, researchers found, adding new strain to a nation already struggling with a profound lack of child care.
Read the article by Abha Bhattarai in The Washington Post
KIPP charter grads finish college at higher rates than their peers
The report by the Mathematica research group will do little to end the political battle over charters, considered by critics a drain on our education system. Charters are publicly funded, privately operated schools open to all, with admission usually determined by random lotteries. I am impressed by the Mathematica results in part because 88 percent of KIPP students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies and 94 percent are African American or Hispanic.
Read the opinion piece by Jay Mathews in The Washington Post
Several organizations dominate equity-oriented training for big school districts
In response to our survey, 42 of the largest U.S. school districts identified the organizations and individuals that provided equity-oriented professional development. The most frequently mentioned were:
Read the article by Katherine Reynolds Lewis in USA Today
Rock pioneer Steven Van Zandt on The Beatles, the Stones and challenging our ‘antiquated’ approach to school
So we see this fulfilling our three goals eventually, which is making sure that art in general stays in the DNA of the public education system. Number two, creating a methodology that works for this generation and future generations that have no patience and are a lot smarter and faster than we ever were. It needs a new methodology, and we have that. And the third thing is keeping kids in school and increasing the graduation level and reducing the dropout level, which is just intolerable and scandalous.
Read the article by Greg Toppo in The 74million