A (Brief) History Of State Takeover Of OUSD

By Dylan Riley
Last Updated on

For years, It is no news for residents of Los Angeles’ Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) being an experimental lab for the reformers of the corporate education system in assaulting public education

It was at the peak of its trend in 2003 at a crucial point when the OUSD came under the control of the state of California.

It was handed over to Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad who was renowned for advocating a rather more convenient business model for education. Since then the OUSD has been transferred from one Broad graduate to another.

This transfer of control to the state of California happened because of a $37 million deficit.

Broad has an institute called the Broad’s Urban Superintendents Academy in which he had an intern named Randolph Ward, a state-appointed administrator to whose hands he vested all the powers.

An election campaign was also run for the same and ideally funded by Broad who was also asked to name the state administrator.

Thereon, Ward got in residents from Board to cater to finance, labor relations and even small school incubators and further down the memory lane is history, when Kimberley Statham replaced Ward. She was also replaced by Vincent Matthews after one year of service.

By laying off all staff under them, the lineage outsourced the work to private companies and removed all constitutional teaching methods by adopting more progressive approaches like Teach for America and New Teacher Project interns.

When the power was restored to the state of California in 2009, the enrollment dropped to 38,000 but the charter school admissions got a big hit owing to at least 20% of the Oakland students being a part of charter schools alone.

This was the highest recorded increase in the whole of California with regard to California. Since then, all the money was sent to contracts and administrators which accounted for about double the average of what was being minted.

The restoration of the local control did not stop the battering which led to the OEA having no contracts for more than 3 years. The teachers work according to the imposition of the school district which has only increased the number of students.

The enrollment policy included the increase in class size but left out the payment terms for the staff. Teachers are not paid well and are rather underpaid on purpose. Oakland’s teachers are unfortunately paid the lowest in California.