Monthly Archives: October 2015

Getting Schooled by Elaine Brown

By: Charles Cole, III In my work as the Community Engagement Specialist in West Oakland I often get to do some pretty amazing things. I get to spend ample time in the neighborhood I went to school in and interact with people that live there. I get to hear about their hopes, fears and dreams for their children. It’s humbling… Read more →

The Real Stories of Unaccompanied minors and What Oakland is Doing

Amidst the hysteria over cantaloupe-calved human marijuana “mules” you might miss the voices from children like Victor found in the recent NPR story about unaccompanied minors and the ways the Oakland Unified has adjusted to, and tried to support them.  And while I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these brothers and sisters are called “mules” by some, when you… Read more →

The Real Challenges of District Reform

Changing district behavior is really hard. I learned this first hand working with OUSD to reduce restrictions on schools and implement so called “site based decision-making” as part of its broader New Small Autonomous Schools Policy.   And it was often not bad actors or bad intentions, but just an inertia that kept the district hurtling forward in the same direction… Read more →

Oakland, School Gardens and the Miseducation of Black Nutrition

By: Charles Cole, III Yesterday (October 17th), I was honored to sit on a panel at the Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference at Laney College in Oakland. The panel was on School Gardens and had a panel of some pretty experienced urban gardeners. I stuck out like Malcolm X at a Toby Keith concert. I have no experience with… Read more →

Segregation “By Any Means Necessary”

By: Dirk Tillotson Brother Malcolm would be spinning in his casket if he heard the so called BAMN (by any means necessary) caucus using his words for an agenda he certainly would not agree with, calling the attempt to integrate some special education students in Oakland into regular classes, “the New Jim Crow”. Ha, as most Black families whose kids… Read more →

Quality School Food as an Equity Issue

Small moments break your heart sometimes.  The school food was not good, but as the bell rang to end lunch, she was hurriedly squirrelling leftover sandwiches and half sandwiches into her backpack.  A slight kindergartener, she couldn’t eat all those sandwiches herself, but was taking them home for later, and maybe for others. We take it for granted, but for… Read more →

Housing should not be Destiny- Reforming Enrollment Rules to Increase Equity

Low income students in Oakland are 18.3 times more likely to be in lowest scoring schools in reading than their more advantaged peers.  That was one of the most striking results in the recent CRPE study.  And while that was the most jarring stat, putting Oakland in dead last among the 50 cities studied, every city showed disparities, and a… Read more →

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