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Future of BayTech charter school uncertain

District staff wants the state administrator to deny the renewal and expansion of Bay Area Technology School, a charter middle school that opened three years ago. It’s located at 1920 Telegraph Ave, and it serves a predominately African-American student body.

In the denial report, staff says it found the school has “an unsound educational program.” They argued that although its overall API score is higher than that of the average district middle school, its math scores dropped last year. The report also cites previous financial instability, although it notes that the school has since balanced its books.

At tomorrow night’s board meeting, a group of parents plans to challenge the recommendation, said Stephanie Ali, president of the BayTech Parent Club. Ali said she didn’t understand the basis of the denial; she said the academics are rigorous and that students who are lagging behind receive mandatory after-school tutoring.

“Our parents are very fiercely protective of our institution,” Ali said. “I’m expecting for the bleachers to be full.”

They could have to wait for hours. The item comes after the budget hearing, near the tail-end of the agenda.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Jim McCarthy

    It doesn’t baffle me in the least why the school board wants to shut down a successful school. It puts a glaring light on the huge gap between BayTech and any Oakland public middle schools.

    There were no Oakland public middle schools competing in the Math Counts program this last February at U.C. Berkeley. The Scripts National Spelling Bee winner, Evan O’Dorney was.

    Name 1 public middle school that has on it’s board of directors CEO’s, Managers & Engineers working in high technology. Name 1 public middle school that is answering the cries of industry to educate our children to compete in the world economy. Does any other middle school have a nano technology partnership with UC Davis? How many public middle school students would spend Saturdays being challenged with higher math skills?

    It would be easier to bury the school than for the school board to face the reality that they have failed our student.

  • http://www.baytechschool.org Oscar Yildiz

    We believe that, Dr. Statham will approve our renewal. All of our academic and fiscal indicators are showing that, BayTech is meeting the needs of Oakland kids. You want evidence? Take a tour to our interactive web site. http://www.baytechschool.org

  • BayTech Volunteer

    I know the school staff, how much they work, how much the love the students, how much they care the education, how much they care the community just from the beginning. The school has started with a tough student population, the api scores was below the average of OUSD when they first started the school but since then they consistently improve the scores and now it’s above the OUSD average. Like this there are actually many other vital measures that BayTech has clearly shown its success. With the increasing number of the enrollment the connection of the parents, student, volunteers and school staff is worth to experience, its hard to define in words. So with all that it’s very unfortunate and discouraging to hear this sad news. But I have a big hope that the board will not approve this denial recommendation and give BayTech kids a chance bloom into the future. I am also confident that the API scores will continue to climb and within 3 years everyone that has signed to this denial recommendation will understand “the mistake” they are now making.

  • http://vrnttwdsyahoo.com vernetta woods

    Bay Tech needs to open this year and years to come, why now thy want to end this
    school? As we all know student have to re-enroll by or before January to hold there
    placement in a new or old school. If By Tech is close down what happen to the children,
    and will they be subjected to any school because they have room. This is bigger then
    someone with higher power wanting to control the system, and having the last word. Think about the students and what’s best for them, not what adults thinks is best. Bay Tech has help my daughter Yolanda Woods a lot, and her grades are 2.50 and up. Bay Tech help
    yolanda become very computer tech, but when she would have bad days they would
    work with her, and not just push her away. We would help each other become better
    teachers, parents, and students. Thank You Bay Tech!!!!!!!!!

  • Tim Ceyln

    I am a lead Researcher at Advanced Micro Devices and myself and a lot of my friends have been trying to help in anyways to this fine school since the beginning of its education. We also were educators in big part of our lives, at universities and at high schools as volunteers. We had a great experience by working with the dedicated staff of BayTech. In fact we started to see the fruits of this hard work and dedication. This baseless , unfair suggestion of denial of renewal shocked and deeply saddened us. On the other hand we do believe this mistake will be corrected soon not to let Oakland children and their parents down.

  • Fran Polat

    The recommendation of denial of BayTech just shocked me. I am sure the state
    adminstratator, Dr. Kimberly Statham, will not allow the staff’s big mistake to be
    repeated at the Board Meeting, and she will DENY the denial. BayTech has been doing
    such an incredible job since its foundation. The educational program, after school, extracurricular activities, character education, home visits, international trips, and
    many other options BayTech offers could not be offered by many schools in Oakland.
    Dr. Statham, please, do not let the BayTech students, parents and its community down.

  • Staff Member

    I have worked at BayTech as a staff member and believe BayTech is benefitting the students tremendously. The students want to come to school and most of them love being there. For the types of students we have, it is great to see kids wanting to learn. Bay Tech is a place the kids want to go to not only for the subjects, but because the teachers care a huge amount.

  • Matt Avsaroglu

    I have witnessed every effort for BayTech School by staff, development team, parents and volunteers. Tens of people has been working and doing incredible job in Downtown Oakland for three years. When the charter was approved three years ago, on June 23, 2004, BayTech School did fabulous job within two months and found a “Facility” and opened the school. Beside that, just its second academic year, Baytech School passed the OUSD API score. These are the reasons that Staff is recommending denial…!
    Please Dr. Statham, just be FAIR. That is all I want.

  • Hope White

    To close Bay Tech would be a travesty! Bay Tech is a good school and that can be the only reason why they would want to deny the school to continue. We parents have our children at Bay Tech BEACAUSE WE DONT WANT OUR CHILDREN IN OAKLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS! Schools where our children will have to fight on the way to school during lunch and after school mind you they would have to dodge the drug dealers and pimps that HUNT for youth for various reasons! I want my daughter to go to school to learn and go to college. Right now colleges are begging for enrollment. That says a lot to me about the education in the public schools. Of course the powers that be have THEIR children in private schools so they have no concerns or know the trauma our children face daily! They want to close Bay Tech and build PRISON thats all the California cares about! Lets incarcerate them… they don’t need education! BULL!!!

  • Sumeyra Avsar

    I am looking academic part and I really do not understand that how come a school, BayTech, has API scores more than OUSD average can have API scores as one of the denial reasons. This is so unfair!

  • Matt Demir

    It is difficult for me to understand the basis of the OUSD staff report which recommends denial to BayTech Charter Renewal. We have intensively focused on student achievement with providing weekdays and Saturday mandatory free tutoring programs for low achieving students. BayTech students also benefited from the mandatory homework period everyday at the end of the regular instruction hours. During this period all students had to stay one more hour and complete their homework under the supervision of homeroom teachers. In addition to that many BayTech students have been involved in enriched after school programs, sleepovers, BayTech Summer Camps, trainings for regional, state-wide and national competitions. These are the well known facts for the parents and community that BayTech is doing a wonderful job. The enrollment growth up to 194 students in 3 years is a good sign which shows BayTech’s educational program is successful and attracting students to its program.

    Despite those facts listed above OUSD staff focused on one parameter which shall be not a reason to recommend denial for renewal. BayTech’s AYP drop for Math in 2005/06 is given as a concern for denial. This drop caused mainly by the newcomers enrolled to BayTech at the beginning of the 2005/06 school year. Unfortunately most of those students did not possess a strong Math background. BayTech did take all necessary actions to improve their Math level as mentioned above before they took the STAR test. But only 8 months of effort was not enough to bring all those students levels into adequate ones. On the other hand there is another indicator which is called API to measure a schools overall success. According to that indicator BayTech appears as a successful school and exceeds OUSD’s average API score. State does not require any district to deny an operating charter school’s renewal based on one year AYP indicator, but API growth is a common fact that a district shall accept the renewal of that charter school.

    BayTech is an exemplary charter school shall be granted for 5 more years. BayTech is definitely not a kind of school to be at risk of receiving denial for its charter renewal.

    Dr. Statham! Please do not forget if you will deny BayTech Charter Petition, you will deny all the good jobs have been done at BayTech in three years.

    Dr. Statham! Please fairly grand BayTech Charter Renewal and allow BayTech to provide perfect education to its students for 5 more years.

  • Meredith

    Hey guys, don’t worry! I read about this over at the NovoMetro blog (www.novometro.wordpress.com) on Sunday, and they had an update today: It’s not going to close. Hooray!

  • Pingback: Inside Bay Area > The Education Report > BayTech hangs on

  • Angela King

    Coming from the Washington, DC area, my children skipped a grade and attended Bay Tech. No OUTWARD signs of gangs, no outward signs of drugs, kids being kids but kids learning. This is the second year back home in the Washington, DC area and was just notified that the twins tested so well in Math that they are now taking 9th grade math earning High School Math Credits. They are 11 years old.

    Bay Tech, Mr. Yildiz, Principal, the Teachers, the students, the HARD WORKING Parents Club, TOGETHER DO A FANTASTIC JOB!

    FUND Bay Tech Charter School. They have made a difference in the childrens life.

    Angela Y. King

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon Higgins

    Bay Tech charter school is one in a tight network of charter schools across the nation (nearly 90 schools) which are headed by Turkish immigrants, hire an unusual number of Turkish immigrant teachers, promote Turkish culture, etc.

    These schools have strong connections to the Gülen Movement, the religious, social, and political movement generated by followers of the teachings of Turkish scholar and Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. The word is getting out about this network and you will be hearing more about it the news.

    Here’s an article about one of the network’s schools in Arizona. Ozkur Yildiz, the superintendent interviewed here, used to be Bay Tech’s principal.
    http://azstarnet.com/news/science/environment/article_dec199db-be3f-5519-be3d-f6ad970db1f8.html

    Excerpt:

    While Yildiz denied Sonoran Science Academy is affiliated with the movement, one of Sonoran Science Academy’s founders, Nasuhi Yurt, left Tucson in 2005 for Ebru TV, a Gülen movement network based in New Jersey.

    Ali Unver, president of Paragon Education Corp. in Chandler – a Sonoran Science sister school – told a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist “about the noted Turkish preacher and scholar M. Fethullah Gülen,” during a dinner there in November.

    When a Sonoran Science student competed in a Turkish competition in California, he recited a poem by Gülen called “Hic,” a piece recommended by his teacher. A video of his performance, and those of other Sonoran Science students, can be viewed on the “Gülen Movement channel” on YouTube, and were recounted in Gülen’s newspapers in Turkey.

    And Gülen himself, a powerful political force in Turkey, claimed responsibility for U.S. schools in a 2007 lawsuit against the Homeland Security Department as part of his effort to gain permanent residence.

    His argument in that lawsuit was that he was a person of exceptional ability in the field of education. Among Gülen’s accomplishments, his attorneys argued, were that he “has overseen the establishment of a conglomeration of schools throughout the world, in Europe, Central Asia, and the United States.”

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon Higgins

    Here’s the Gülen Movement channel on YouTube

    http://www.youtube.com/user/GulenMovement

    And watch this Gülen Movement channel video to see Oakland Bay Area Technology Charter School kids who attend Gülen movement charter schools as they compete against other kids in the network at the Turkish Language Olympics organized by the Pacifica Institute based in California. The clip is from March 2009. These types of events are held for the network’s charter schools across the country. Just google “Turkish Olympiad.”

    http://www.youtube.com/user/GulenMovement#p/a/u/0/4QMV_BZwcYc

    Charter schools: your unmonitored public tax dollars at work.

  • Nextset

    Sharon Higgins: The Charter movement is an opportunity for every cult, conspiracy, movement, gang, religion, foreign power and neighborhood watch to get their own “School”.

    And the families vote with their feet. If they want to join the gang, they can send their kids too. Synnanon had a school I believe (rattlesnakes as the school mascot?), the Black Panther Gang had a school (gun toting Panther as it’s mascot?), I don’t know what the Bakery Gang was waiting on – if they kept sex slaves you’d think they’d start a school too.

    Everybody gets what they want. Is this a great country or what?

    This Charter Movement is required because we the people decided to destroy the public schools that functioned well in the first half of the 20th century, with the Brown vs Board case. We forced integration with out-the-window standards to make it work they way somebody thought it should. The result is our “quality” urban schools. If Brown had gone differently, allowing for public schools to be segregated by objective standards other than skin color, this wouldn’t be happening at all.

    Brave New World!

  • Maria Erbil

    Sharon Higgins is the only one speaking the truth here. If this school stays open any longer they will have to answer to charges of Immigration fraud and laundering of money. To you Bay TECH people on the board…watch the books and the Gulen sympathizers are always on the board, in the foundations and principals to keep you from the truth. Gulen owns his own media ERBU TV and Zaman are just a few, he spins the awards of these schools and this is BIASED information since the children are winning the awards at Gulen sponsored events like the last Turkish Olympaid sponsored by the Pacifica Institute. Beehive, Magnolia Science Academy , Coral Science, Sonoran Science Academy and BAy Area Tech School all competed in the Turkish singing, dancing and poetry. This is wrong, we cannot change African-american culture, it is a crime to see Black children speaking Turkish when their English skills need to be improved. This is the Gulen and Turkish Agenda. Bay ARea Technology will be busted for money laundering mark my words – follow the money. Accord Institute—>Pacifica Insitute—>Bay Area Technology Schools. Then if that doesn’t work Accord will borrow from Dialog Foundation, Foundation for Inter-cultural Dialoguy, or MARF-Magnolia Education and Research foundation. TAX DOLLARS need to be pulled from this Gulen Scam. He is worth over $52 billion and lives on 200 acres in the Poconos, PA while he abuses the rights of Turkish workers coming to the USA.

  • CarolineSF

    Sharon Higgins has dug up reams of information on the Gulen movement, a religious-political movement that runs a network of between 90 and 100 charter schools in the U.S. Katy, you need to be on this story, because it’s a national scandal manifesting itself in Oakland.

    (The BayTech operators tried to open a charter school on my side of the bay in San Francisco a few years ago, but even the charter advocates on our Board of Ed voted it down — the Oakland school is segregated and low-performing, and SFUSD hardly needs to welcome a segregated and low-performing school. The Gulen movement was not on anyone’s radar at the time.)

    I am not pretending to be informed about the Gulen movement itself, but no publicly funded school should be run as part of a network promoting ANY religious-political movement.

    Sharon’s latest post on the Gulen-run schools:

    http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/06/us-fethullahci-schools-sometimes.html

    Mainstream news coverage of a Gulen-run school in Utah — article in the Salt Lake Tribune:

    http://www.sltrib.com/education/ci_12855515

  • David

    is this religious school going to continue to get public funding from the Oakland Unified School District?

    this is shocking!

    H1-B carrying immigrants getting jobs, while native-born Teachers are getting pink slips?

    Where is our superintendent?

  • Gaia Ozcun

    Meanwhile Magnolia Science Academy out of Los Angeles and also a part of the Gulen managed schools has managed to get the green light for a new Santa Clara School. The principal is Tim(Timur) Saka, who previously taught at Magnolia in Los Angeles, at Lotus School of Excellence in Colorado and Beehive Science Academy in Utah ALL OF WHICH ARE GULEN MANAGED SCHOOLS. FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    it seems that Gulen’s inflitration into Turkey’s education, politics, media, and military are under investigation especially after a tell all book by a Turkish Police Chief. Next will be an investigation in America on the mismanagement of funds surrounding the 140 US Charter Schools that the Gulen Movement manages.
    http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100901/FOREIGN/708319894/1002
    The National on the Investigation of Gulen in Turkey

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-08-17-turkishfinal17_CV_N.htm
    USA Today a Look at Gulen and the American Charter schools