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Space Exploration Academies make final appeal

spaceresize.jpgUpdate: The state board upheld the district’s decision. The two schools are closing immediately. This means the kids will have to find new schools one month into the semester.

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West Oakland’s Space Exploration Academies took an unofficial field trip to Sacramento today. It could be their last mission.

As I type, some 50 kids and teachers and a handful of parents are waiting to convince the state board of education to overturn Oakland Unified’s decision to shut them down only months after they opened.

I believe they are the first charter schools in California to go through a new appeals process. Schools can keep receiving state funds until they exhaust their appeal at the state level.

Camron Gorguinpour, who helped start the one-year-old middle and high schools, says the district’s case is bogus and that the schools did not violate their charter agreements. The district says the school has too few students and that it didn’t show evidence of strong instructional practice. The county board of education upheld the district’s decision.

The two space-themed schools have only about 75 students between them — which is arguably remarkable, considering their very uncertain future during enrollment time.

Here’s a test score analysis of the Space Exploration Academy and the Junior Space Exploration Academy Gorguinpour sent me, which is what he’ll show the state ed board. Some of its charts apparently compare the performance of its African-American students to others in the area.

Katy Murphy

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