Tag Archives: School Board

#HandsOffDewey – A Successful BBQ and Next Steps

31 Jul

BBQ for Dewey

The coalition to defend Dewey just finished up a very successful BBQ at Dewey Academy that brought out over 75 students, staff, parents, and community supporters of Dewey.  Check out the pics.  Be sure to not miss the video linked below.  As always, for up to date info and more media, check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stopgentrificationousd.

Fists up for Justice!  Hands off Dewey!

Fists up for Justice! Hands off Dewey!

Dancing at the BBQ!  "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."

Dancing at the BBQ! “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

******* Click here to check out the dope student-produced video!  *******

Get Involved

We need to build a movement to keep OUSD and the developers’ hands off Dewey.  That means we need all the support we can get.  Here are a couple ways you can help us:

1.  Come tomorrow, Friday 8/1, and help us Crash the Developer’s Meeting!  We’ll be meeting at 1000 Broadway at 10:30AM.  Check the flyer here.  Click on the images to get the PDF for printing.

 One Pager Final_Page_1 One Pager Final_Page_2

2.  Sign our petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/oakland-unified-school-district-and-the-city-council-hands-off-dewey-students-before-profits-and-meaningful-community-engagement

3.  Share the struggle.  Tell folks to like our Facebook page to get updates and show support: https://www.facebook.com/stopgentrificationousd.  And share our hashtags too: #handsoffdewey #schoolsnotcondos #educationnotgentrification #rescindtherfq

4.  Email board members.  Here is a simple guide to help you write a quick email:

Easy Guide to Emailing School Board Members

Key Points: Don’t Demolish Dewey! Rescind the RFQ!

  1. Open a fresh email.
  2. SUBJECT LINE:  Choose one from the list below, or write your own beginning with Don’t Demolish Dewey, then copy and paste into “Subject:”
  3. SEND TO:  Copy and paste all of the email addresses below into “Recipients:”
  • Don’t Demolish Dewey! Rescind the RFQ! – Dewey Students Cannot Be Moved — Even for One Year!
  • Don’t Demolish Dewey! Rescind the RFQ! – Selling Schools Is Not a Source of Funds!
  • Don’t Demolish Dewey! Rescind the RFQ! – Public Land Should Stay Public!

gary.yee@ousd.k12.ca.us, maria.santos@ousd.k12.ca.us, david.kakishiba@ousd.k12.ca.us, roseann.torres@ousd.k12.ca.us, james.harris@ousd.k12.ca.us, jody.london@ousd.k12.ca.us, christopher.dobbins@ousd.k12.ca.us, jumoke.hodge@ousd.k12.ca.us, anne.washington@ousd.k12.ca.us

  1. YOUR MESSAGE:  Copy and paste one of the suggested messages below into the body of your email, or write a brief message of your own, and press SEND:

Don’t Demolish Dewey! Rescind the RFQ! Dewey should not be moved because Dewey students are already at-risk.  Moving their school, even for just one year, definitely raises the likelihood of them dropping out.  Any other location would be unsafe for Dewey students. Dewey was just moved a decade ago and it was intentionally moved near Lake Merritt because it’s gang-neutral territory. Students have said this location is the safest place for them. Moreover, Dewey students as at-risk youth of color in Oakland, are always being under-supported and not prioritized.  You of all people should not be thinking of demolishing Dewey.

Don’t Demolish Dewey! Rescind the RFQ! There are much better sources of funds than gentrifying Oakland and demolishing active, thriving public schools. We should cut managerial administrative positions and salaries instead.  In 2012-13 (the most recent year with sufficient data), OUSD had 2x the administrators than Fremont, the next closest sized district in Alameda County.  If we had the same amount of administrators we would save $13 million. And OUSD officials and Board members should start a campaign that developers, Kaiser, the Port, Google, and other Oakland and Bay Area corporations be taxed to fully support quality public education.

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Update on Dewey

31 Jul

Posted below is our most recent update on Dewey.  We published it a couple weeks ago on the Oakland Local blog.  It’s not fully up to date at this point since it’s missing our most recent actions including our BBQ on Monday, 7/28.  Still it’s worth posting for our archives here and so everyone can get an idea of the ongoing nature of our work around Dewey and gentrification within OUSD.

 

Stopping Gentrification in OUSD:

Update from Struggle to Stop Displacement of Dewey and Privatization of Public Land

By Aram Mendoza and N. Finch

Since we last wrote about the potential development deal that would potentially displace Dewey Academy and sell off public land, we’ve witnessed an inspiring awareness and mobilization among  the OUSD community.  At each of the two relevant board meetings that happened last week, the 7-11 meeting and OUSD school board, students, educators, and community members came out to speak against the proposed development deal that would privatize public land.  Below we outline a brief update on each meeting and review the major problems of this attempt to privatize public space in Oakland.  Throughout this piece we put forth a vision of how we should approach the key issues in this process.

Specifically, we call for:

  • Public land to remain under public control; No privatization of public land.
  • Parent, staff, student, and community should decide OUSD policy.
  • The OUSD admin and the school board should become community activists and fight for taxes on property developers, corporations, and the port, rather than resorting to short-term privatization schemes.

 

Sign-making before we protested at a 7-11 Committee meeting.

Sign-making before we protested at a 7-11 Committee meeting.

 

7-11 Meeting, Community Response and Colonial Analogies

 

On Monday, June 23rd, the 7-11 Committee convened its third meeting in order to advise the school board on whether or not Dewey Academy should be considered “surplus property” and thereby offer it up to luxury condo developers as a saleable/leaseable parcel of land.  While OUSD so poorly promoted attendance at previous 7-11 meetings that no more than four or five community members showed up, this one had over 30 educators, students and parents from Dewey, joined by a handful of concerned community members.

The fact that educators and students were able to quickly get the word out and mobilize the community, without any outreach support from OUSD, demonstrates the strong opposition to the OUSD administration’s plans to privatize the public land that Dewey rests on.  The grouping of educators, students and community members put up signs around the room that read, “Schools Not Condos,” “Dewey is not Surplus,” “Not One Inch of Public Land for Private Developers,” and other messages that clearly took a clear stand against the administration’s move to privatize public space.

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Update and Next Steps to Rebuild Adult Ed

6 Jun

Dear supporters of Classroom Struggle and Public Education in Oakland,

We won $1 million dollars for Adult Ed! This is definitely a partial victory, and we should celebrate this, since it was direct action and leadership on the part of parents and teachers which won it. But we also need to be clear about the limitations of every victory.

Thank you all for coming out on Wednesday, 5/22. We have included a detailed overview of what happened on at the school board meeting, what our victories have been, the limitations of the vote taken on Wednesday, as well as some directions for next steps.

Adult Ed

A few key points:

  • At the May 22nd board meeting parents, teachers and students were united in fighting for a fair contract and against cuts (mainly to adult ed).
  • The board voted to maintain current funding for adult ed (due in large part to mobilizations by adult ed students and teachers as well as the outcome of the May Revise).
  • The vote guarantees 1 million in funding of adult education but does not guarantee how that funding will be spent.
  • It is still possible that cuts may happen because of “restructuring” by administrators or because school site budgets may not be able to pay the contribution that is currently required of them.
  • Going forward, adult ed students and teachers are continuing to fight to make sure the program continues as it is and expands to restore the 90% of this program that was cut 3 years ago. There is still work to be done THIS SCHOOL YEAR.

We want to learn from and build out of the May 22nd board meeting so please take the time to read the rest of this email to understand the details of this struggle and contact us with any thoughts/suggestions/questions.

What Happened?

The meeting started with a picket line and rally of hundreds of parents, teachers and students chanting “Save Adult Ed,” “Fair Contract Now” and “Not One Cut!” After 15 minutes of picketing outside, the contingent marched inside and held a spirited general assembly with speeches from parents, Adult Ed students, and teachers. Oakland’s educational community was out in strong force and electrifying what is otherwise an incredibly dull “business meeting” (to use School Board Member Jumoke Hodge’s own words.)

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All Out for Oakland Schools! Tomorrow, Wedn., 5:30 @ Board Meeting!

21 May

Join Oakland parents, teachers, and students in Adult Ed and K-12 tomorrow to demand:

Save and rebuild adult education!

Grant teachers a fair contract!

Reduce Special Ed Case Loads!

Rally at 5:30 at the School Board (La Escuelita Elementary: 1050 2nd Avenue, btwn 10th & 12th St).

Click the flyer below to download.

Save and rebuild adult educationSave and rebuild adult education2

Connecting the Dots: Bay Area Millionaires Buying School Board Elections Across the Country

3 Apr

A little while ago we wrote about how corporate money has been rolling into school board elections across the country, upturning normally low-key, local affairs and twisting them towards corporate school de-form.  Of course, the local example was how GO Public Schools funneled $185,000 towards 3 Oakland school board candidates, Rosie Torres, James Harris, and Jumoke Hinton-Hodge.  GO had received the money from 3 main sources: the California Charter School Association, Gary Rogers (seed funder of GOPS), and Arthur Rock.  Well now, Arthur Rock and some other Bay Area venture capitalist friends have been popping up in even more local elections.  Teacher blogger, Jersey Jazzman, did the dirty work to uncover the campaign finances and here is a sample of what he found:

- Colorado: According to election records, Rock, Penner, Callaghan, the Goldberg-Sandbergs, and the Fourniers gave a total of $19,830 dollars to a slate of candidates consisting of State Senators Linda Newell, Mary Hodge, and Andy Kerr; Representatives Pete Lee, Millie Hamner, Brittany Pettersen, and Dave Young; and House candidate Chuck Rodosevich, who lost his bid. While each if the candidates got different amounts all donors individually gave the same amount to each candidate.

- New York: According to election records, Callaghan, Penner, and Rock gave State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein $2,000 each; Sandberg and Goldberg each gave $1,000.

- Nevada: According to election records, Alison Serafin, who was recently elected to the Nevada State Board of Education, received the following amounts:

  • Rock, Sandberg, Thiry: $5,000 each.
  • Goldberg: $3,500.
  • Callaghan, Penner: $2,000 each.
  • The Fourniers: $1,000 each ($2,000 total).

While some of this might seem like chump change when Obama raised $1 billion for his reelection, in school board elections these amounts of contributions totally warp the democratic process.  For more info from Jersey Jazzman, please click here for his post.  As he puts it these folks have been buying elections 3,000 miles from home (New Jersey in his case).

Of course, they’re also buying elections here and with huge consequences.  GO has continued its push to bring corporate de-form policies into Oakland schools, most notably, with its recent campaign to evaluate teachers by test scoresa scientifically invalid process.  To stop this red herring of a reform and point attention to where it should be (support and training for teachers based in professional learning communities and, crucially, increased resources for schools and our communities) we will have to be doubly vigilant and mobilized to offset the undemocratic nature of our current board.   Click here for more ideas on what we can do and, as always, please share your ideas too.

Garbage Science: Teacher Evaluation by Test Scores and Some Ideas for Stopping Them in Oakland

1 Apr

Some of you might have already seen the shocking results in the New York Times today.  Apparently, all the teacher evaluations programs pushed on school districts by Obama’s Race To The Top and the corporate de-formers have found a shocking conclusion: most teachers are, in fact, “highly effective” at their jobs.

Diane Ravitch does a great job of poking holes in this “realization” and cites some of their statistics:

In Florida, 97 percent of teachers were deemed effective or highly effective in the most recent evaluations. In Tennessee, 98 percent of teachers were judged to be “at expectations.”

In Michigan, 98 percent of teachers were rated effective or better.

This is serious news for Oakland.  As many of you hopefully know by now, GO Public Schools & Co. (including Youth Together, Youth Uprising, SEIU 1021, OCO, and Education Trust-West), is making a serious push to evaluate Oakland teachers by student test score data.  They are not alone.  Superintendent Smith is heading the same direction in conjunction with 8 other California school districts (in the group called California Office to Reform Education (CORE)).

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Corporate Money Rolls Into School Board Elections Nationwide

10 Mar

The hijacking of local school board elections by corporate funders pushing their education “reform” policies continues unabated across the country.   This pattern has already been seen in our elections in Oakland last November which we analyzed here.  November was when the PAC for GO Public Schools collected $185,000  to be donated to their three candidates Jumoke Hodge, James Harris, and Rosie Torres.  This doesn’t mean GO doesn’t also support other corporate “reformers” on the board such as Jody London who also ran in November, but it seems they were more worried about the potential for losing in the districts of Hodge, Harris, and Torres.   So to defend their policies at all costs they collected $50,000 each from such luminaries as Arthur Rock, a San Francisco hedge fund capitalist, Gary Rogers, millionaire founder of Dreyer’s Ice Cream and seed funder of GO Public Schools, and the California Charter Schools Association.   Compared to the next largest source of money, the OEA, GO spent 9 times as much.

Dems and Reps Take Money

The money doesn’t stop in Oakland.  Last week’s Los Angeles school board elections saw millions of dollars in corporate money, again ridiculously outspending the non-corporate aligned candidates.   Donations included $1 million from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, about $340,000 from the California Charter Schools Assn., $250,000 from an organization led by former District of Columbia schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and $250,000 from a New York-based subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.  All of this was funneled through Mayor Villaraigosa’s campaign PAC.  Let this be another lesson of where the Democrats stand when it comes to corporate “reform” of education.  For more info on Los Angeles check out: this LA Times article and Diane Ravitch posts.

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