The Oakland Ed Week in Review 10/28/23-11/3/23

Happy Friday to you! Pull up a seat, it’s time to dive into some education news with the Oakland Ed Week in Review! This is a Dirk favorite and one of the last blogs he published for Great School Voices. Here’s what we have going on this week: lots of election coverage as the District 5 school board race goes down to the wire; how the affirmative action Supreme Court ban is affecting California colleges; a look at the fallout when a Florida school banned student cell phones; plus more news from around The Town, the state and the nation. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The Oaklandside) 


Oakland school board candidate gets union boost in race for critical swing seat
Two-thirds of the outside spending in Ritzie-Hernandez’s favor comes from the political fundraising arm of the teachers union: the Oakland Education Association Political Action Committee. Ritzie-Hernandez and her wife have both worked on the previous campaigns of other union-backed candidates.
The rest comes from the California Workers’ Justice Coalition, which is sponsored by SEIU Local 1021 — a sign of broad labor support for Ritzie-Hernandez, who helped organize rallies during the Oakland teachers strike in the spring.
Read the article by Shomik Mukjerjee in The East Bay Times

Oakland teachers’ association deletes post calling for ‘unequivocal support’ for Palestine
The Oakland Education Association has deleted an Instagram post pledging “unequivocal support for Palestinian liberation” and blasting Israel as an “apartheid state.”
The union, which represents teachers, counselors, psychologists, social workers, librarians and other Oakland educators, posted the “official statement of solidarity” with Palestine Friday. The post called for an “immediate ceasefire and the end of all U.S. military aid to Israel.”
Read the article by Alex Baker and Don Kerman in KRON

Oakland school district says teachers union owes over $400,000
The union’s over $400,000 debt includes missed payments in the 2021-22 school year and no payments last school year in 2022-23, the Chronicle reported. So far this school year, the union hasn’t made payments for nearly $100,000 for three educators, including the union president, who are on leave.
Read the article by Lasherica Thornton in KTVU2

Oakland Unified is eyeing its vacant properties for affordable housing
Two years ago, the OUSD board approved agreements for the former Tilden Child Development Center and the shuttered Edward Shands Adult School, two long-vacant properties, to be converted into housing and multi-use developments. The projects have yet to break ground. Since then, a preliminary permit application has been filed for the Tilden property to develop one, two, and three bedroom units, along with retail and parking spaces. The leases that the school board approved in 2021 stipulated that half of the residential units would be rented to OUSD workers.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

‘It’s our home’: Steph and Ayesha Curry’s ongoing tribute to Oakland
Since its inception in 2019, the Currys’ philanthropic arm has invested $47 million in the Oakland community. It has delivered more than 25 million meals, provided $6 million in literacy resources, and revitalized a dozen school recreation spaces such as the one at Lockwood STEAM.
Read the article by Greg Wong in The San Francisco Examiner

OUSD Special Election: Who’s supporting Jorge Lerma and Sasha Ritzie-Hernandez?
Both candidates have raised thousands of dollars for their campaigns, buying ads and mailers and paying for other voter outreach efforts. This race, however, hasn’t seen hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent expenditures like some previous OUSD elections. Still, some groups, like local progressive organizations and labor unions, have thrown support behind Ritzie-Hernandez.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

The State of California

UC stands by Israel-Hamas statement
“This was an act of terrorism, launched on a major Jewish holiday. What should have been a quiet weekend of rest turned into days of unspeakable terror and shock. The violence is sickening and incomprehensible, and as of this moment we still do not know the fate of the hostages. This act deserves and requires our collective condemnation,” said the statement from UC President Michael V. Drake and Richard Leib, chair of the UC board of regents.
Read the article by Ashley A. Smith in EdSource

Peralta Community College District names new chancellor
The Peralta Community College District board has named Tammeil Gilkerson as the district’s new chancellor. She will begin in January of 2024. Gilkerson is currently the president of Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, where she has worked for three years.
Read the article by Diana Lambert in EdSource

How college admissions are changing after the end of affirmative action
Immediately after the court decision, an association representing more than 80 California nonprofit private colleges wrote that it feared that the end of race-based admissions will mean less diversity on campuses: “Our member colleges and universities across California are deeply concerned that the decision will have a chilling effect on applications and enrollment among historically underserved community groups — Black, Latino, and Native American students, low-income and first-generation students,” wrote Kristen F. Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Four months later, that fear is still there, Soares said in a phone interview.
Read the article by Carolyn Jones and Mikhail Zinshteyn in CalMatters

Across The Nation

This Florida school district banned cellphones. Here’s what happened.
Like many exasperated parents, public schools across the United States are adopting increasingly drastic measures to try to pry young people away from their cellphones. Tougher constraints are needed, lawmakers and district leaders argue, because rampant social media use during school is threatening students’ education, well-being and physical safety.
In some schools, young people have planned and filmed assaults on fellow students and then uploaded the videos to platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Teachers and principals warn that social apps like Snapchat have also become a major distraction, prompting some pupils to keep messaging their friends during class.
Read the article by Natasha Singer in The New York Times

Teachers kick off strike in Portland, Ore., over class sizes, pay and resources
Teachers in Portland, Ore., walked off the job on Wednesday for the first day of a strike that shuttered schools for some 45,000 students in Oregon’s largest city. Concerns over large class sizes, salaries that haven’t kept up with inflation and a lack of resources prompted the strike, one of the latest signs of a growing organized labor movement in the U.S. that’s seen thousands of workers in various sectors take to the picket lines this year.
Read the article by Claire Rush in The Associated Press

Rash of violence has not deterred Black parents from keeping their kids at HBCUs
HBCUs were traumatized by on-campus shootings over a 12-day stretch this month. On Oct. 3, four students were shot on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, prompting the cancellation of the homecoming ceremony. Five days later, about 40 miles away at Bowie State University, two students were shot during homecoming weekend. And on Oct. 15, Jackson State University student Jaylen Burns was shot and killed on school grounds in Mississippi. But seven Black parents interviewed by NBC News said that, despite the emotion and fear brought on by the violence, they leaned toward providing their children with an HBCU experience rather than remove them from school.
Read the article by Curtis Bunn in NBC News

How Dr. Paul Miller champions students of color by supporting Rochester’s charter schools
Working in the urban public education sector for more than 20 years, Dr. Miller recognizes the distinct challenges that charter schools face. Together with a group of like-minded people with the same vision and mission, Dr. Miller spearheaded Charter Champions, a non-profit organization supporting 25 charter schools and partnering with businesses to ensure education equity for students and families.
Read the article by Jon Stojan in USA Today

Biden administration revamps its student debt forgiveness plan
The Education Department on Monday released a student debt relief proposal that would target four categories of borrowers: those with federal student loan balances that exceed the original borrowed amount; those with loans that entered into repayment 25 years ago or more; those with loans for career training programs that led to “unreasonable debt loads or provided insufficient earnings”; and those who are eligible for forgiveness under other repayment plans but have not applied for it.
Read the article by Summer Concepcion in NBC News

Students hated ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Their teachers tried to dump it.
A third spoke about how a White teen said the n-word aloud while reading from “Mockingbird,” disobeying the teacher’s instructions to skip the slur, the student recalled in an interview with The Post. She spoke on the condition of anonymity, for fear of harassment.
“The kid looked at every Black person — there’s three Black people in that class — and smiled,” the student said, according to meeting records and her memory. “And the plot is not even good.”
Read the article by Hannah Natanson in The Washington Post

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