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Thank you, James Vann, Michael Pyatok for standing up for the diversity that many of us find Oakland's most attractive feature. There is no artist's rendering that competes with a walk around Lake Merritt on a sunny Saturday. We Oaklanders must demand that our future plans include the working people who make this town home. The current administration has been all too willing to trade our common lands and common future for private gain in the name of progress. Thank you, EBX for your continued coverage of these types of important, if unsexy, meetings.
I appreciate Mr.Levin's thoughtful and well fact-checked article. I want to emphasize one aspect of this piece. OUSD hired at least 470 new educators this year. School communities and principals got to say who was hired in all of those cases.
Seniority only plays a significant role in placement when an educator is displaced due to no fault of their own. Unless there are significant numbers of school closures planned, it plays a relatively minor role in placing educators in assignments--but is very important for those individuals who are forced from school communities they know and care for.
Hundreds of educators leave Oakland every year--but OUSD wants to focus on this relatively small number of displaced employees as a way of spinning their proposal. Which do you think is the larger problem?
While I'm pleased that the Express finally reported on the outside spending in the school board race, the amounts reported are significantly less than the final amounts. On Almanzor in District 6, GO spent over $66,000 according to their 11/3 Form 497 filing,--and the charter schools association, through its "Families for Quality Oakland Schools" PAC contributed a total of an additional $65,000 to the campaigns.
Mr. Gammons rightly points out the inequities becoming apparent in the charter school movement as it scales up. Whenever public funds are put in private hands, you can expect this kind of gaming of the system. Although there are several charter operators who do attempt to take a similar population to that of OUSD, many have significant outside funding to assist them. The Lighthouse charters are an example of this. And then there are operators like American Indian--which have a Special Education population of 1% and are essentially a profit making enterprise for the Chavis friends and family.
The overall data on charters says that a small but significant number do better than the public schools they draw from. Their methods should be studied by anyone interested in quality education for all students. But 80% of charters do the same or worse than the regular public schools they draw students and funding from. Placing a moratorium on new charters in areas like Oakland and LA is a good interim step while we examine what's working and what's not.
Here are links to recent studies on the actual results of charter schools vs. traditional public schools:
A US DOE study on charter middle schools
A summary article on charter school research with a link to a published volume of peer reviewed research.
A study by RAND on the effects of charter schools on student achievement in eight states.
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