It’s happening, after all, from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Yes, it takes place in the Oakland school district administration building, in Hunter Hall, but it’s not being sponsored by OUSD, according to a disclaimer on the news release.
You’ll see the original players, as advertised the first time around …
and some new ones, perhaps added to temper the panel: Kristin Gallagher, principal of Millsmont Charter School; Hugo Arabia, principal of Oasis High School Charter School; and Kim Shipp, former OUSD parent — and now Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland teacher union Jack Gerson, a teacher at Leadership Prep (Castlemont).
Chris Dobbins, the school board member who put this together, is moderating the whole thing. Here’s the gist, straight from the release:
Anyone who heard President Barack Obama call this month for more, not fewer, charter schools must recognize that charter schools are here to stay. For too long, the debate about charter schools in Oakland has focused on whether or not they should be allowed. That debate is over. We must now ask ourselves how charter schools and district schools can best serve all of Oakland’s students.
The purpose of this debate is to have an open dialogue about the tension between charter schools and district schools. The idea is to explore the community’s thoughts and concerns about these two types of public education. The event will be a success if participants leave with a deeper understanding of ways district schools and charter schools can complement each other.
There are strong perceptions on both sides. Do charter schools “cream” the best students? Do they neglect special education students? Are they staff by ill-prepared teachers and administrators? Are district schools mired by statutes and regulations? Are they tied too closely to unions? Do they shirk accountability?
Maybe I’ll see you there.