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Archive for December, 2007

Wall Street Journal report on college admissions names two Oakland high schools

A recent report from the Wall Street Journal found that two of Oakland’s private schools are grooming a great number of their students for elite universities.

The College Preparatory School and Head-Royce School, respectively, sent 17.4% and 9.9% of their graduating seniors to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago, or Johns Hopkins.

The report may not come as much of a surprise to some — after all, most of the high schools themselves are elite. But it does reflect the disparate realities of the Bay Area’s young people. In Oakland’s public high schools, less than 40 percent of 2006 graduates had the credits necessary to attend a state university.

Posted on Monday, December 10th, 2007
Under: high schools | 30 Comments »

Are Oakland’s `hills’ schools becoming more exclusive?

Last night, as school district staff announced their recommendation to shrink the boundaries of Hillcrest (see map on page 4), Oakland’s most prestigious public school, I didn’t envy many people in the room.

Not the staff delivering the news, or trying to explain the demographics over constant interruptions by stressed-out members of the crowd. Not the parents who paid a Hillcrest premium on their homes to find that they would probably be redistricted into another school zone, or those whose children might be split between elementary schools.

But those outside of Upper Rockridge will be affected by this thorny situation as well. Neighboring Chabot and Montclair schools – who learned just this week that their attendance boundaries might be expanded to include an extra 5 to 15 (formerly) Hillcrest kindergarteners each year – noted that the change would restrict their ability to educate children from less affluent areas through the Options process.  

One parent at the meeting said the decision would create a greater gulf Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2007
Under: enrollment, families | 41 Comments »

The School Options Fair is right around the corner

coliseum22.jpgIt will be at the Coliseum, across the highway from the Tribune’s new offices.

Like this newspaper, the fair used to be located in downtown Oakland. The sprawling Coliseum/Oakport region off the I-880 is where it’s at these days, I’m telling you. At least it’s accessible by BART.

Here are the details on the fair, which is Friday and Saturday. School options applications are due Jan. 15.

image from D.L.’s Web site at flickr.com

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
Under: families, parents | 13 Comments »

Should new teachers be afraid to speak up?

sboylan2.jpgSiobhan Boylan, a novice teacher who just broke the month-long silence on the My First Year blog, wants to know what you think. In October, she caused a bit of a stir when she reported her dismay at her school’s reaction to a sewage leak.

(Be honest with her — but please, just don’t tell her to stop blogging!)

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
Under: teachers | 7 Comments »

Yet another director at Oakland School for the Arts

dance.jpgSaul Drevitch began his tenure at Oakland School for the Arts in November 2006, after the departure of founding director Loni Berry. 

One year later, Drevitch has packed his bags. Yesterday was his last day at the selective downtown charter school championed by Jerry Brown.

At 6:30 p.m. tonight, parents, students and staff meet the new head of school, Donn Harris. Harris was is Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
Under: charter schools | 2 Comments »

Budget cut humor from The Onion

onion.jpgToday I sat through four hours of discussions about budget cuts, inadequate funding and deficits at a Senate Education Committee meeting in City Hall.  

Rather than bore you with the details, I thought I’d post a fitting piece of satire from one of my favorite publications:

Underfunded Schools Forced to Cut Past Tense From Language Programs

WASHINGTON—Faced with ongoing budget crises, underfunded schools nationwide are increasingly left with no option but to cut the past tense—a grammatical construction traditionally used to relate all actions, and states that have transpired at an earlier point in time—from their standard English and language arts programs.

Read the full article.

Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2007
Under: finances | 3 Comments »