Teachers and parents to protest cuts in Early Childhood Education

Something hasn’t felt quite right since the fall semester started almost a month ago. When I learned about a Wednesday demonstration at central office, I realized what was missing. I’m pleased to report that the school year is now officially in full swing.

The 2007-08 protest season is underway.

The teacher’s union says the district has shut down three early childhood education sites and has consolidated eight classrooms since the state takeover. I’ve left a message for Jane Nicholson Lynne Rodezno, the director of Early Childhood Education, to verify those facts and seek an explanation, so hopefully I’ll be able to update this post soon.  

If anyone has any insight or historical knowledge about this issue, please share it with us.

Here is the release from the Oakland Education Association:



WHERE:   OUSD School Board Meeting (1025 2nd Avenue, 1st Floor)

WHEN:     Wednesday (September 26) 4:30 PM

CONTACT:  OEA President Betty Olson-Jones (510-763-4020 x 15; bolsonjo@yahoo.com)
At this Wednesday’s school board meeting, the Oakland Education Association’s Early Childhood Caucus will join with concerned parents and community members to voice their concerns over the deterioration of  Oakland’s Early Childhood Education program.

OUSD’s Early Childhood Education program used to set a high bar for programs around the nation with its exemplary programming, high rate of student academic performance, parent education and community relations. But since the state takeover of OUSD, the ECE program has been cut severely: three sites closed; eight classrooms consolidated; more than 20 ECE unit jobs lost.

What’s behind these cuts? Prior to the state takeover,  parents were able to go to the early childhood site of choice (usually one near their work or home),  fill out an application and have it reviewed and approved on the spot at the site.   But under the state administration, the ECE department switched to a centralized intake system.  Parents now must go downtown, stand in long lines, and deal with an anonymous and impersonal system.  Not surprisingly, many parents have decided to go elsewhere, leading to reduced enrollment.

OEA says: It’s high time that kids, classrooms and quality education for every student were put first. Clearly, that won’t happen under the state takeover.

Restore the cut programs and positions
Restore site-based enrollment
Restore full local control of Oakland public schools

OEA President Betty Olson-Jones (510-763-4020 x 15; bolsonjo@yahoo.com)

Katy Murphy

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

  • Jack Gerson


    It appears that Jane Nicholson is no longer Director of Early Childhood Ed. Lynne Rodenzo is listed as the Director of ECE on the OUSD web page. See http://webportal.ousd.k12.ca.us/WebItem.aspx?WebItemID=204

  • Jack Gerson

    Oops! I didn’t quite spell the new ECE Director’s name correctly. It’s “Rodezno”, not “Rodenzo”. Important to get a new OUSD manager’s name right the first time, since they’re not likely to be around very long.

  • Katy Murphy

    Thanks, Jack. I thought there was a chance that someone new would be in the position. I left the message on the main number, though, so hopefully the right person will call back.

  • Rhonda

    I have been an ECE educator for over 25 years and have always provided an exemplary program to the families and students served. It is true that major cuts in the ECE program have occurred over the past 4 years and recently the centralized registration has caused ECE enrollment to decline dramatically.

    If the ECE program is having a cash flow problem, then why are retired ECE Administrators (Diane Kirkman, Floria Spencer, Ruth Buchanan) being given large consulting contracts ($$$$$) to do work in the ECE program that an ECE clerical staff member or an ECE instructional staff member or an ECE administrative staff member is qualified and able to do? Additionally, ECE site administrators have been stretched across as many as 5 sites and are only able to visit a site once per week, leaving teachers in charge of the entire school site. These teachers are teaching class and managing and leading the school.