The Rhetorical War on Public Schools from the Left and Right

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. George Orwell Words matter.  What we call something affects public support for it. Is a medical meeting, “end of life counseling” or a “death panel”, the descriptions matter   So it’s not a coincidence,…


When Good Intentions Go Bad, Opportunity Hoarders and Equity in Oakland

Existing rules and the dynamics of choice tend to increase inequality.  There don’t need to be any bad actors.  As parents we all do try to do the best we can for our children.  But that pattern of choices, and neighborhood assignment, tend to reinforce and increase the distance between children of advantage and those…


Choosers, Losers, Abusers and “Opportunity Hoarding” in Oakland

School choice can divide us into winners and losers.  In fact it already has.  I am talking about charters. But not just charters, also those lucky enough to be able to choose where they live, with corresponding quality neighborhood schools, or have the resources to hustle their kid into an-out-of neighborhood or private option, the…


The Facts on Oakland’s Foster Students and How We Can Do Better

It’s National Foster Care Month and Oakland’s numbers are crying out for action.  We can do better, we need to do different, and this month and ongoing I will be shining a light on these children, our children. First let’s look at the facts—which are dismal—you can see the charts below from Oakland Unified.  But…


Real Stories of American Indian Public Charter School

It was over 15 years ago, when elders in the Native Community asked me help with the American Indian Public Charter School.  A school, then in revocation, and now rated among the best schools in the City, state, and country.  But at that time, nepotism reined, the school was in debt, had no employees, only…