Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending Mack’s annual alumni barbecue at De Fremery Park in West Oakland. This year was extremely special as it was the 100th Anniversary of the legendary school. I was greeted by representatives of the 1961 class with hugs and smiles and a pretty hearty plate of barbeque. There are a lot of people that love Mack and want to see the school make a triumphant return to prominence.
Since the latest SBAC and SRI scores came out I’ve been trying to really sit in the data. What are the numbers saying about our Oakland students and race and class? There’s a story there. I’m very interested in that story but even more at this moment I’m concerned with discovering that story with the community that so loves the school. In spending time with various community members they were all intrigued with what the numbers were saying. Even with the understanding that this is the first year of a brand new computer-based testing system and these initial scores will act as a baseline it is still jarring to hear that only 4% of the students tested are at least proficient in math.
After we spent significant time looking at data we did something that was encouraging, we talked about the possibilities of what we could create together. As a resident of this city for most of my life and a former student of this school district, the majority of conversations I’ve been witness to have been about our differences or sins of the past. We do that so much that we never get a chance to discuss what we can accomplish together. Witnessing this gave me a ton of hope. Leading with facts and truly understanding exactly where our children are educationally allowed us to focus on student
issues and not just adult grievances. This isn’t about ideology or unions or privatization or any other polarizing topic. Nope. It’s about educating kids and to do that we have to work together.
Happy 100th birthday, Mack! You don’t look a day over 50.