Way back in April 2007, I had the pleasure of observing the first of many sessions about overcrowding in a severely undercrowded district. It was on a Sunday afternoon at Hillcrest Elementary School, and boy was it intense.
Tonight, literally more than 30 meetings later, the board voted to send all Hillcrest-area kids for whom there’s no space to nearby Kaiser Elementary, a high-performing arts magnet school. They also agreed to eventually expand capacity at the also crowded Montclair Elementary School by up to 100 more students, which the school’s faculty council apparently opposes. No boundary lines changed.
You can find the presentation here.
Dozens of parents at various “hills schools,” some of whom live across the city from where their kids go to school, attended tonight’s meeting to voice support for Oakland’s Options policy.
School choice advocates take note: Gary Yee, Alice Spearman, Noel Gallo, Kerry Hamill and Chris Dobbins made a point to state their support for neighborhood schools — and, in some cases, to blame the district’s over- and under-enrollment problems on the district’s choice policies.
Spearman even called out some middle-class, African-American parents from East Oakland’s lower hills who send their kids to elementary schools in tonier neighborhoods.
“You guys want to think about why you’re taking your children, and using that gas money, to take your students from recognized schools (namely: Howard, Thurgood Marshall, Grass Valley),” Spearman said. “It’s a shame.”
Minutes later, on the way out of the meeting, I overheard one of the mothers tell another parent, “I felt like I was being scolded by my grandmother!”
Whose side would you take?