Dirk Tillotson

How Oakland Unified Graduates Left Over $16 Million on the Table and What We Can Do

Educational Policy is too often about promises and pledges with few delivered results.   Amidst the best intentions, everything comes down to implementation.  And if last year’s FAFSA submission rate is any indicator, Oakland Unified has a lot of work to do, as only 45% of seniors completed one. You know the FAFSA, the form that qualifies you or your child… Read more →

Ending the “Lock Out” of Black Students, How OUSD Enrollment Rules Hurt Black Kids

District enrollment rules conspire against equity from top to bottom.  Even those most “fair” mechanisms like lotteries.   Redistributing opportunities and privilege means upending these rules, something Oakland Unified has started, and gotten huge pushback on.   But it’s time we take a hard look and make some hard choices.  I agree with president Harris’s comments at the recent OUSD meeting that… Read more →

Treating the Wounds No One Can See, Trauma Is a Disability

“Johnny” drove me crazy.  He was always up and out of his seat and bobbing around the classroom. One eye constantly tracked him, waiting for him to get up, and he never disappointed, it was easy enough to get him to sit back down but he was always back up.  It was a moment to moment mental wrestling match, a… Read more →

After 8 Schools and Almost Giving Up, I’m Graduating From MetWest and Headed to UC Davis

This guest post is by Camille Marley Brewster (aka Mars), who is graduating from MetWest High School in Oakland Unified School District this month. During my time in Oakland I’ve been to eight different schools, some district, some charter, one home-schooling program twice, and then finally ending up at one very different and special high school, MetWest, that I graduated from… Read more →

Grand Jury Questions Charter Achievement and Advocates for Common Enrollment in Oakland-Our Analysis

The Alameda County grand jury released a report on charters in OUSD this week which will have some fodder for pro and anti-charter groups.  And while there were some insights, at times the analysis was insufficiently nuanced and at others it seemed to misunderstand the context or the law.  Some of the more simplistic analysis probably will lead to misleading… Read more →

The Silent 73% Lose Again in Oakland

73% of families in Oakland favored common enrollment in the only survey I have seen.  No it wasn’t scientific, yes it was just one of several questions in a more general survey (which to me gives it credibility), yes it was online so it was probably not representative.  But it had over 500 respondents and 73% said “yes” when asked,… Read more →

2 Rules to Explain Why Expulsion Hearings Will Always Be Biased Against Black Boys

Four hours in an expulsion hearing gives you time to think. And afterwards, you are wrapped tight. So it takes a little time to unwind. I attend these hearings too often as part of my work. Well, I don’t get paid for it, so “work” may not be the right word…as part of my duty. I have sat on both… Read more →

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