The Oakland Ed Week in Review 2/16/24-2/23/24

It’s time for the Oakland Ed Week in Review!  

We’re back with an of our roundup of education news from around The Town, the Bay Area, state, and nation for your weekend reading. This is a Dirk favorite and one of the last blogs he published for Great School Voices. 

Here’s what’s been going on: 

Here in Oakland:  This week’s beat covers a range of topics including challenges with the school calendar, student achievements at college events, protests at school board meetings, a OUSD financial award from Kaiser Permanente, budget deficits, school security upgrades, demolition plans, advocacy for math proficiency, Catholic school closures, student empowerment campaigns, and civic engagement initiatives.

In the Greater Bay Area:  East Bay teachers plan off-campus pickets to advocate for students and families, while NEA grants $10,000 to New Ballet for educational programs, and CSU enrollment drops impact Bay Area campuses; other stories include a special education teacher’s unique skills, a school superintendent’s uncertain fate, local school bond measures, woodworking’s resurgence, and concerns over school safety after an intruder incident in San Francisco.

Throughout the State of California:  The National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed a significant drop in math and reading scores for nine-year-olds in the Sacramento area, prompting California schools to allocate $2 billion for pandemic learning loss, while parents protested after a substitute teacher’s alleged inappropriate behavior left a class distraught, and proposed legislation by the California Teachers Association could eliminate performance assessments for teachers, amidst controversies over LAUSD candidate’s social media posts, challenges to school district policies on race and gender, and demands for fairer funding for property-poor districts.

Across the Nation:  A Texas judge ruled that a black student’s suspension over his hairstyle didn’t violate the law, sparking broader discussions on education policies and race in the United States, while schools face challenges accommodating migrants, teachers express frustration over their limited influence in curriculum debates, and a shortage of substitutes exacerbates absenteeism among educators.

What did we miss?  Hit us up in the comments below: 


Why We Need an Equal Focus on Math Proficiency in Oakland Public Schools

It seems that every school has made it their mission to focus on building a culture of reading and putting in place the additional supports required to get students reading proficiently before they get to middle school. This is tremendously important work, but what about math? “Illiteracy in math is acceptable in a way illiteracy in reading and writing is unacceptable. Failure is tolerated in math, but not in English.” – Bob Moses. 

By the Families In Action Oakland Blog

Oakland Unified’s school calendar makes childcare difficult, parents say

OUSD approved the 2024-2025 calendar less than six months before the start of the school year, adding to the stress of making summer plans for students. 

Check out Ashley McBride’s piece in Oaklandside

Hundreds of OUSD Students Converge on Oakland Tech’s Gym for Annual College Event Where Many Received on-the-spot Admissions and Scholarships

More than 800 students from across the District came together for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caravan. There were 23 HBCUs represented. 

The OUSD Newsroom has more

Protesters Demanding Hearing on Gaza Ceasefire Resolution Shut Down Oakland School Board Meeting

Ceasefire demonstrators beat a drum and called out the names and ages of children who have died in the Israeli army attack on Gaza. Protesters said they were angry and frustrated that school board President Sam Davis, backed by former board President Mike Hutchinson and Jorge Lerma, blocked the discussion even though four of the seven members of the board have called for the Gaza resolution to be placed on a board agenda, as permitted by Oakland Unified School District bylaws. 

Read Ken Epstein in the Post News Group for more

Kaiser Permanente awards $9M grant to boost Oakland schools

Kaiser Permanente has announced a new partnership with Oakland Unified School District, awarding OUSD a $9 million grant to boost health services and academic support. The money will be spread out over the course of three years and is being given to help students and staff lead healthier lives. KTVU’s Jana Katsuyama is joined in the studio by Oakland Schools Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel and Yvette Radford with Kaiser Permanente for more details on how the money will be spent.

What will Oakland schools have to cut to fix their $24 million deficit?

The city’s schools have struggled for years to maintain a balanced budget and stave off deficits, but now a fresh hurdle approaches as federal COVID money granted to Oakland Unified School District is set to expire. Check out Shomik Mukherjee for Mercury News

West Bloomfield moving forward with demolition of Roosevelt Elementary

West Bloomfield school district is moving forward with plans to tear down Roosevelt Elementary in Keego Harbor even after multiple offers from local developers to repurpose the building. 

By Matthew Fahr for The Oakland Press.

2 East Bay private Catholic schools to shut doors amid Diocese of Oakland’s bankruptcy

The embattled Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland is losing two of its elementary schools as it goes through bankruptcy proceedings 

By Shomik Mukherjee & Jakob Rodgers for Bay Area News Group

Oakland University joins in celebrating 20 years of AASCU’s American Democracy Project

The nonpartisan initiative has engaged thousands of campus leaders, faculty, staff, and students around the country to equip college graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to be informed and engaged global citizens. 

By the Center for Civic Engagement in Oakland University News

The Bay Area

East Bay teachers’ coalition to hold off-campus pickets

An East Bay teachers coalition on Wednesday will walk picket lines outside several campuses for what they say is needed for their students as well as their own families. 

By Kris Sanchez for NBC Bay Area News

NEA awards New Ballet $10,000 for free educational program

Helps San Jose students take First Step toward learning to dance 

By Anne Gelhaus for Bay Area News Group

CSU enrollment drop impacts Bay Area: SFSU, East Bay and Sonoma

California State University has suffered stunning enrollment losses since 2019, with some of the steepest declines at three Bay Area campuses, including San Francisco State, which lost more students than any school in the system. 

By Nanette Asimov for The San Francisco Chronicle

East Bay special education teacher’s training as a hairstylist comes in handy before student’s big night

Before Claire Hall found her calling as a special education teacher at Acalanes High School, she dreamed of a different career path. 

By Garvin Thomas for NBC Bay Area News

UPDATE: Santa Clara County school superintendent still on the job

Residents waited for more than two hours at Wednesday’s Santa Clara County Board of Education meeting as trustees weighed Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan’s performance behind closed doors — which could have led to discipline or termination. Instead, trustees took no notable action, leaving Dewan’s fate unclear. 

By Brandon Pho for the San Jose Spotlight

Key Bay Area school bond measures and parcel taxes: What you should know

A quick guide to bond measures and parcel taxes being proposed in cities and counties across the Bay Area 

By Ryan Macasero & Blair Rowan for Bay Area News Group

Woodshop has been disappearing from California schools for decades. Here’s why one Bay Area teacher is bringing it back.

As state policymakers started slashing public school budgets, shifting academic requirements and reshaping public perceptions about higher education, woodworking was slowly carved out of generations of Californians’ studies. 

By Katie Lauer for Bay Area News Group

After intruder climbs into SF class, parents demand safety changes

When an intruder hopped the fence and landed in the playground of San Francisco elementary school a week ago, teachers scrambled to get kids inside as the principal ordered someone to call 911 and announced a lockdown over classroom phone speakers.  

By Jill Tucker for The San Francisco Chronicle

The State of California 

California’s Push for Ethnic Studies Runs Into the Israel-Hamas War

California has grand ambitions for ethnic studies. By 2025, the state’s public high schools — about 1,600 of them — must teach the subject. By 2030, students won’t be able to graduate high school without it.

By Dana Goldstein for The New York Times

Here’s how COVID learning loss affected test scores at Sacramento-area schools

National Assessment of Educational Progress released data on students test scores that reveal the most significant drop in math and reading scores for nine-year-olds in decades. 

By Philip Reese for The Sacramento Bee.  

Related article:  California schools allocate $2 billion for pandemic learning loss. How could funds be used?

As part of a $2 billion lawsuit settlement reached in Alameda County Superior Court, California schools will be required to use the remaining funds of the Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant, a $7.9 billion program, to help students rebound from learning loss post-pandemic. 

By Angela Rodriguez for The Sacramento Bee

Parents demand answers after California substitute teacher’s alleged behavior leaves class in tears

More than a dozen parents and their families protested outside a West Covina elementary school on Tuesday, Feb. 20, where the removal of a substitute teacher accused of viewing inappropriate material in class prompted demands for an apology, questions over why an arrest was not immediately made and concern over why they weren’t notified sooner. 

By Anissa Rivera for East Bay Times

CTA-sponsored legislation would remove one of state’s last required tests for teachers

Newly proposed legislation sponsored by the California Teachers Association would eliminate all performance assessments teachers are required to pass, including one for literacy that it supported three years ago. The result could leave in place an unpopular written test that the literacy performance assessment was designed to replace. 

By Diana Lambert for EdSource

Teachers union halts support for LAUSD candidate, who has more online posts to explain

The influential Los Angeles teachers union has suspended its campaign on behalf of school board candidate Kahllid Al-Alim amid rising criticism over his social media posts and likes… 

By Howard Blume for The Los Angeles Times

School district’s controversial policies about race and gender challenged in court

Parents, students and teachers plan to appeal a ruling made by a Riverside County judge after their request for a preliminary injunction was denied Friday in an effort to halt a local school district’s controversial policies, according to their attorney. 

By Austin Turner and Chip Yost for KTLA5 News   

Check out more coverage by Jeff Horseman for Bay Area News Group in his article titled California school district’s critical race theory ban, transgender notification policy stand for now, judge rules.

Property-poor districts demand fairer funding for school facilities

Public Advocates’ 21-page demand letter coincides with the start of negotiations between legislative leaders and the Newsom administration over the size and details of a school facilities bond for the November ballot. Two bills must be reconciled. Assembly Bill 247, by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, calls for a $14 billion TK-12 and community college state bond. Senate Bill 28, by Sen. Steven Glazer, D-Orinda, calls for a $15 billion bond that includes funding for UC and CSU.

By John Fensterwald for EdSource

Across The Nation

Black student’s suspension over hairstyle didn’t violate law, Texas judge rules

The trial was the latest development in a case that has prompted scrutiny of education policies and race in the United States.

By Christine Hauser & Patrick McGee for The New York Times

Schools face big challenges accommodating migrants who’ve crossed the border

A collapsed border deal means no relief for public schools straining to educate thousands of new international students. Colorado districts are adapting and learning from one another. 

By Jenny Brundin for NPR Morning Edition

Teachers say they have little influence in curriculum debates

As debates over whether and how topics of race, gender, and sexual orientation should be taught in K-12 schools continue across the country, new national survey data of teachers, students, and the American public reveals how complicated the discussion can get. 

By Ileana Najarro for Ed Week.

Teachers are missing more School, and there are too few substitutes 

In some districts, teachers are taking more sick days since the pandemic. A shortage of substitutes can make matters worse. 

By Sarah Mervosh for The New York Times

NYC students, advocates call for school-based restorative justice, mental health funding

Students present their budget priorities regarding school safety and restorative justice at a “Dignity in Schools” coalition campaign launch on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 at the YA-YA Network in New York City, New York. 

By Julian Shen-Berro for Chalkbeat

Black History Month teaching strategies change amid curriculum restrictions

The vagueness of state restrictions may prompt teachers to back away from key topics, necessitating clear guidance and support from district leaders, experts say. 

By Naaz Modan for K-12 Dive

Punished for dreaming: how school reform harms Black children and how we heal

Bettina Love examines the impact of education policies on Black students and what we can do next. 

By Nimah Gobir for KQED

Michigan’s high school graduation rate increases for the second year in a row

Michigan’s high school graduation rate was 81.77% in 2023, the second year in a row the rates have increased and a promising sign that students are continuing to recover from the disruptive pandemic. 

By Isabel Lohman, Bridge MichiganandLori Higgin for ChalkBeat

Yale to require standardized test scores for admissions

Officials said test-optional policies might have harmed students from lower-income families. 

By Stephanie Saul for The New York Times

NJ denies Newark charter school from entering Jersey City, blocks expansion of another for third time

The state’s acting education commissioner denied the expansion of two Newark charter schools – marking another year of slowdown to charter growth – while approving a small-scale charter school for renewal due to above-average state test scores. 

By Jessie Gómez for Chalkbeat

States with universal school meal policies see higher participation rates

Nearly 234,000 more students ate school lunches in the 2022-23 school year compared to pre-COVID levels in five states serving free meals, FRAC found. 

By Anna Merod for K-12 Dive

When Science class Is in a former Macy’s

Charter schools are popping up in struggling malls as landlords look for alternative tenants and communities seek to increase educational opportunities.

By Paul Sullivan for The New York Times

High Schoolers: are you paying attention to the Presidential election? 

The New York Times’s Headway team and Chalkbeat want to hear from you. 

New York Times & Chalkbeat have put out this survey

Florida refuses to bar unvaccinated students from school suffering a measles outbreak

Florida’s controversial surgeon general is drawing criticism for his handling of an elementary school’s measles outbreak, telling parents of unvaccinated children it is their choice whether their students attend class — a contravention of federal guidelines calling for their mandatory exclusion.

By Terry Spencer for The Associated Press

Chicago’s school support staff have been working without a new contract. Union leaders say talks have stalled.

SEIU Local 73 — the union that represents school employees such as custodians, crossing guards, special education classroom assistants, and security guards — has been negotiating for a new contract since May. 

By Samantha Smylie for Chalkbeat

COMMENTARY: Parent engagement can make all the difference

As upcoming national elections loom, there is a concerning overshadowing of local political engagement. 

By Amira Barger for EdSource

What do you think?

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