The ratings are in. Could the state be on its way out?

I’ve got some news for you on this otherwise quiet Monday: The latest progress report by the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team clears the way for the Oakland school board to reclaim all of its authority.

Jack O’Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction, ultimately decides how long his department will keep a presence in Oakland. His spokeswoman told me today that it was premature to say what he’ll do.

Is the board ready? If the power transfer does take place, what do you want to see from your elected officials?

Katy Murphy

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

  • Sharon

    FYI: OUSD’s current APR (they’re done for districts, too)

    Made AYP: No (Met 33 of 44 AYP Criteria)
    PI Status: In PI
    PI Placement 2008-09: Year 3
    Prior PI Placement: Year 3
    First Year of PI Implementation: 2004-2005
    2008 API growth = 674

    Last year’s demographics:
    % African American (not of Hispanic origin)= 36
    % American Indian or Alaska Native = 0
    % Asian = 16
    % Filipino = 1
    % Hispanic or Latino = 37
    % Pacific Islander = 1
    % White (not of Hispanic origin)= 6
    % Participants in Free or Reduced-Price Lunch = 64

    Average Parent Education Level (STAR) = 2.34
    (The average of all responses where “1” represents “Not a high school graduate” and “5” represents “Graduate school.”)

  • former hills parent

    What would change if the school board regained authority? Would there be any improvements to what was occurring prior to the state takeover?

    As I now live in San Ramon and no longer in Oakland I see what a school district is like with a functional school board. My first grader just commented “They teach more in my new school than in Oakland.” I credit this to an involved school board and district office that cares about EDUCATION and not about making sure that the needs of the at-risk students are addressed, at a cost to those students already at and above grade level standards. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND applies in Oakland, where achieving students are being left behind in the decision-making of the school board.

    Putting power back in the hands of the board would probably make little difference in Oakland. Until parents insist that the district look to other successful districts for examples, rather than finding excuses as to why success cannot be replicated, nothing will change. It will remain status quo.

  • Sharon

    It is highly likely that the district will be placed in PI-Year 4 during the 2009-10 school year. During Year 4, NCLB requires schools to develop a restructuring plan which is supposed to be implemented in Year 5.

    I’m not sure what districts (called Local Educational Agencies = LEA’s) are required to do when they’re at the same point. They probably have to undergo some sort of restructuring requirement, too. The options for schools are things like converting to a charter, producing a near-complete turnover of the staff, or instituting a massive change in the school’s programs.

    The answer is probably in the LEA Accountability section of the 2008 Adequate Yearly Progress Information Guide (http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/documents/infoguide08r.pdf). Later this week I’ll take a look at it.

    Since OUSD just underwent massive restructuring when the state came in (courtesy of the folks at “Expect Success”) and we still progressed to Year 3, it makes me wonder what’s on our horizon next. Perhaps it would be a good time for the school board to do the sort of research that Former Hills Parent suggests. If they’re not sufficiently proactive, our district could end up being turned into something like the Green Dot District before long.

    We can’t count on NCLB disappearing anytime soon. It was supposed to be reauthorized in Sept. 2007 and never was. It wasn’t deactivated and didn’t expire so there’s no choice for districts other than to keep on complying with it. Considering how slowly things progress in Washington DC, it may be a long while before Congress gets to around to dealing with it.

  • former hills parent

    Another example of how another school district addresses overcrowding and falsification of addresses. San Ramon identified 5 elementary schools that were experiencing overcrowding. They instituted a rigorous process for early application in October:
    1. on-line or call-in appt. to pick up application forms – at this time rigorous proof of address was required before even getting the blank application forms
    2. Another appt. was made to return the application forms with proof of residency. PG and E is REQUIRED, and not just one of the proofs as is done in Oakland
    3. Upon return the proof of residency is scrutinized

    I have already been informed that my daughter is accepted into the neighorhood school for the 2009-2010 school year.

    San Ramon also took information for 3 year old neighborhood children to insure them a spot for the 2010-2011 school year.

    NOW WHY DOESN’T OAKLAND LOOK INTO PROCEDURES USED BY SAN RAMON, rather than make excuses as to why they cannot be proactive about enrollment. How much longer are the parents in Oakland going to passively allow OUSD to make decisions, or in many cases not make decisions that affect the future of their children.

    This is why I moved to San Ramon, and this is why other families are also looking to leave.

  • Former Hayward Resident

    Dear Katy-

    Please stop sucking up to the powers that be.

    I know sucking up got you out of Hayward, but in the long run it’s bad for your career.

    You seem like a much younger version of Karen Holzmeister-willing to say anything to curry favors from the powerful and influential.

    Do us all a favor and call a spade a spade when reporting on the important issues of the day.

  • Katy Murphy

    Former Hayward Resident: “Sucking up to the powers that be”… Interesting that you see it that way. Which powers? Jack O’Connell? The school board? The teachers union?

    By all means, tell me what the “spade” is, and what point of view needs to be aired in this particular story.

    Yes, I used to cover the Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Castro Valley schools (for The Daily Review), but this is the first such criticism I’ve heard from my nearly two years there — anonymously or to my face.

    “Sucking up” doesn’t generally get you very far in the news business, from what I can tell — with readers or with your editors. But you seem to know much more about the news business, and my career trajectory, than I do.

    Maybe you can help land me a job at the New York Times!

  • former hills parent

    Katy has always been receptive to divergent opinions, as is evidenced by this blog. If she “sucks up” to anything, it would be to the truth.

  • Jose, Former Student


    How does the “Former Hayward Resident” know so much about sucking up? Is there a college course I can take on this subject?

    If sucking-up will get me a job with the New York Times after college, I’m ready to give it a try.

  • maat

    The BOE’s first order of business: Hire a Superintendent.

    Grow in our own leadership and governing ability.

    The board has got to embrace a new way of doing business I agree. The “customer” Oakland Parents and Students are demanding it as far as I am concerned.
    Declining enrollment, support of more charters and greater parent activism should send a message loud and clear to this new BOE.

    The search for a new Super is on and vital!

  • Katy Murphy

    I’m writing another story about the prospect of the Oakland school board re-assuming its powers, and I’m in the midst of interviewing more people — teachers, principals, students, parents, etc. — about their thoughts, hopes and concerns.

    Interested? Send me an e-mail at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com, or call me at (510) 208-6424.

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