Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Must Read: OUSD Has Huge Absenteeism Problem; Nonprofits to Take Over State Parks?

By Robert Gammon
Fri, May 20, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland school district became one of the first in the state to analyze student absenteeism rates, and the results are alarming — about one out of every seven students missed nearly four weeks of school last year, the Chron and Trib report. With chronic absenteeism rates like that, it’s no wonder why Oakland traditionally has had less-than-stellar test scores. There are numerous theories as to why Oakland kids, predominantly those from low-income families, miss so much school, but the Chron highlights an East Oakland principal, Adam Taylor, who seems to be solving the problem. Taylor has lowered chronic absenteeism at Brookfield Village Elementary School from 20 percent of students to 7 percent.

Samuel P. Taylor State Park is slated for closure.
  • Samuel P. Taylor State Park is slated for closure.
2. Nonprofit organizations would be allowed to operate the seventy state parks scheduled for closure next year under a bill that sailed through the state assembly, the Chron reports. The bill passed 67-0 and now heads to the senate. The question, however, is whether nonprofits will actually step forward to run the parks.

Goodwin Liu
  • Goodwin Liu
3. Republicans in the US Senate blocked the nomination of UC Berkeley law school professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, AP reports. Republicans filibustered President Obama’s nomination of Liu, and refused to allow an up-or-down vote, saying he’s too liberal.

4. Oakland police say they shot and killed an armed man because he confronted them, but it’s still not clear exactly why cops fatally shot an unarmed man during the same incident, the Chron reports.

5. And who would have guessed this? The woman who said she repeatedly injected her daughter with Botox now says she made up the whole story, AP reports. The woman, Sheena Upton, said she did it for the money. She also had lied about her name and her place of residence, calling herself Kerry Campbell of San Francisco, when her real name is Sheena Upton and she lives in LA.

6. Jurors may begin deliberating Monday on whether Yusuf Bey IV ordered the assassination of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, the CoCo Times reports.

7. The threat of a Biblical-like storm, known to scientists as an ARk storm, may pose a greater threat to California, particularly for hills residents because of landslides, than an earthquake or tsunami, the Chron reports. The state last endured an ARk storm 150 years ago.

8. And California regulators approved two new natural-gas-fired power plants in the East Bay, despite serious doubts over whether they are necessary, the Chron reports.

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