The Oakland Ed Week in Review 11/4/23-11/10/23

The Oakland Ed Week in Review is back, with an edition packed with election coverage. This is our weekly roundup of education news from around The Town, state and nation, a Dirk favorite and one of the last blogs he published for Great School Voices. From the newswires this week: Jorge Lerma has a sizable lead in the District 5 school board election after more results came in Thursday; OEA passes a resolution demanding freedom for Palestine; California students lost half-a-million instructional days to suspension, with marginalized students the most impacted; and conservative activists were on the losing side of a number of elections nationwide this week. What did we miss? Hit us up in the comments below. (Photo credit: The New York Times) 


OUSD special election results: Jorge Lerma leads in early vote count
Following a results update issued Thursday afternoon by the registrar of voters, Jorge Lerma continued to lead Sasha Ritzie-Hernandez in the special election to fill the District 5 seat on the Oakland Unified School District board.
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters reported Lerma had received 2,006 votes to Ritzie-Hernandez’s 1,489. Although still a significant lead, the percentage of the total vote favoring Lerma had shrunk from 62% on election night to 57%.
Read the article by Ashley McBride in The Oaklandside

Oakland teachers union passes controversial resolution supporting Palestinian liberation
The Oakland Education Association passed a non-binding resolution Monday night demanding “freedom for Palestine,” a ceasefire and “Israeli de-escalation,” which some fear could lead to more antisemitism at Oakland schools.
The vote – on the heels of similar controversial messages on social media last weekend that causes a massive rift in the community – came after a meeting that lasted about two and a half hours and left most of the Jewish teachers very upset. 
Read the article by Amber Lee in KTVU2

Educator behind Kingmakers of Oakland nonprofit opening doors for students of color
The nonprofit grew out of the 2010 African American Male Achievement Program for the Oakland Unified School District. Chatmon helps students see themselves as royalty.
‘We see all our young people – our kings, queens, and nonbinary royalty – possessing a greatness that they are beautiful beyond measure,” he explained.
Read the article by Sharon Chin in CBA Bay Area

Mills College agrees to $1.25 million settlement with former students over Northeastern takeover
After 10 months of negotiations, a judge has given preliminary approval of a $1.25 million settlement for former students at Mills College, which merged with Boston’s Northeastern University last year. The merger ended the storied Oakland institution’s 170-year history as one of the nation’s last women-only universities.
Read the article by Elissa Miolene in The East Bay Times

The State of California

Out-of-school suspensions cost California students 500,000 instruction days
A closer analysis, however, shows severe, disparate impacts for different student groups. African American youth in the foster system lost 121 days of instruction per 100 students enrolled, while African American youth experiencing homelessness lost 69 days per 100 enrolled. Those rates compare to a statewide average for all students of 10 days lost.
Read the article by Kara Arundel in K-12Dive

California wants every high school senior to apply for student financial aid. Will a federal delay slow efforts?
About $550 million in federal and state funding for college is left behind annually when thousands of eligible California students miss out on financial aid, but a new California law intended to increase the number of high school seniors completing financial aid applications seems to be working.
Read the article by Haydee Barahona and Li Khan in CalMatters

‘It was like being transported into México’: How fólklorico helps students connect with their roots
Similar to the many first-generation Latinos who have spent most of their lives in the U.S., Ordaz felt disconnected from her roots. She found herself searching for ways to understand her culture, traditions and relate to a country she knew very little about.
Now 21, Ordaz and the club’s student leaders teach baile folklórico to more than 25 students on campus twice a week.
Read the article by Natalie Hernandez in The Los Angeles Times

CSU Teamsters will strike next week
Teamsters Local 2010, which represents about 1,100 skilled trades workers for the California State University system, announced they will hold a strike on Nov. 14 across 22 campuses. Last month, nearly 95% of the union’s members voted for a strike.
Read the article by Ashley A. Smith in EdSource

Sacramento parents see social media hook kids. Lawsuits in California may make companies liable
Late last month, lawyers in Oakland clashed during a hearing over the fate of hundreds of federal lawsuits from California and many other states. The cases accuse social media companies of employing design features that entice young people to compulsively use their platforms, leading to mental and physical harm. U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will decide if the lawsuits can move forward. At the recent hearing, she indicated that at least some would.
Read the article by Stephen Hobbs in The Sacramento Bee

Stanford campus hit-and-run investigated as hate crime after Muslim student struck, injured
An Arab Muslim student at Stanford, who was injured in a hit-and-run traffic incident Friday that authorities are investigating as a possible hate crime, is asking people from his hospital bed to “denounce hatred, bigotry and violence.”
The driver of a black SUV reportedly struck the student, who has been identified as Abdulwahab Omira, at Campus Drive and Ayrshire Farm Lane, near several student residence buildings shortly before 2 p.m. Friday, according to advisories from Stanford’s Department of Public Safety.
Read the article by Katie Lauer in The San Jose Mercury News

Recognizing fake news now a required subject in California schools
Gov. Gavin Newsom last month signed Assembly Bill 873, which requires the state to add media literacy to curriculum frameworks for English language arts, science, math and history-social studies, rolling out gradually beginning next year. Instead of a stand-alone class, the topic will be woven into existing classes and lessons throughout the school year.
“I’ve seen the impact that misinformation has had in the real world — how it affects the way people vote, whether they accept the outcomes of elections, try to overthrow our democracy,” said the bill’s sponsor, Assemblymember Marc Berman, a Democrat from Menlo Park. “This is about making sure our young people have the skills they need to navigate this landscape.”
Read the article by Carolyn Jones in CalMatters

Across The Nation

In school board elections, parental rights movement Is dealt setbacks
These volatile issues have roiled national politics for the last several years and were at play in school board and statewide elections in multiple places Tuesday. But voters did not flock to the conservative mantra, as seen in Democratic and progressive-leaning teachers unions quickly heralding the results and foes of Moms for Liberty, a high-profile, hard-right parent group whose candidates did not fare well, rejoicing on social media.
Read the article by The74

2023 election results throw doubt on lasting sway of school culture war issues
Conservative activists for parental rights in education were dealt several high-profile losses in state and school board elections on Tuesday.
The results suggest limits to what Republicans have hoped would be a potent issue for them leading into the 2024 presidential race — how public schools address gender, sexuality and race.
Read the article by Dana Goldstein in The New York Times

What happens when educators win school board seats, according to new research
Electing educators to local school boards often results in a pay bump for teachers, but does not correlate with higher student achievement or high school graduation rates.
That’s the finding from new research published earlier this year in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. While electing more professional educators—classroom teachers, principals, superintendents, or other administrators—to school boards leads to an average teacher pay increase of approximately 2 percent for each educator elected, there’s little evidence that having more board members with education backgrounds leads to better student performance in core subjects like reading and math, the researchers behind the study found.
Read the article by Caitlynn Peets in Education Week

Schools across the U.S. are trying a 4-day week. Why? To retain teachers
Many school districts around the U.S. are moving to a four-day school week to retain teachers. Districts that don’t want to raise taxes to pay teachers more are using the long weekend as an incentive.
ReadListen to the story by Sarah Gonzalez on NPR

Education secretary says federal funds are at stake if schools fail to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia
Since October 7, the office has received “eight or nine” complaints about antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents on school campuses, he said.
Cardona is asking Congress for more funding “so that we can make sure we’re expediting investigations against antisemitism or Islamophobia.”
Read the article by Rene Marsh and Katie Lobosco in CNN

Study questions the long-term costs of shutting down schools during pandemic
The Pacific Research Institute released a study in September reviewing the impacts of the various approaches states took when dealing with the pandemic.
The study concluded: “The states that implemented policies categorized as more stringent tended to have fewer COVID-19 infections and fewer COVID-19 mortalities per 100,000 people. These states have also experienced increases in other causes of mortality that may fully offset the reduction in COVID-19 mortalities, larger economic consequences, and larger education losses for children.”
Read the article by Tom Gantert in Chalkboard

What’s latest on student loan forgiveness plan? One huge question looms for Biden’s panel
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 Alia Wong and Zachary Schermele in USA Today

When bullied students end their lives, parents are suing. And schools are paying.
When his parents finally grasped the cruelties Gabriel had endured, they sued Cincinnati Public Schools, becoming part of a steadily growing trend: Parents whose bullied children end their lives are seeking to hold schools accountable. More and more are filing suit, according to attorneys and others involved. And some are pressing schools to memorialize their children or tighten their practices, so other children are not similarly harmed.
Read the article by Donna St. George in The Washington Post

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