A commercial for Oakland’s public schools

The Oakland school district is exceptionally diverse, its state test scores are rising and it is preparing more and more of its students for college, is the gist of a new video for prospective families, “Take Another Look at OUSD.”

“If you look and you’re open, you can see a lot of wonderful things that happen here,” goes one woman’s testimonial.


Do you know many people applying to both private and public schools for next year? Think this commercial might sway them?

You can find a school tour and open house schedule for Oakland’s public schools here.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Jessica Stewart

    It is exciting to see OUSD starting the process of telling the community about the great things happening in our schools. We’ve got a ways to go, but there are so many great things happening. A major next step is capturing more of the market of students in Oakland that we’re losing to private schools, and this is a step in that direction. Great job, I say, and keep it coming!

  • Donna

    This commercial would not sway the people I know or have encountered. A greater factor is meeting and talking to parents and students at the school(s) in question; that opens the mind to attending in the first place. Those people may be neighbors, fellow church members, friends, families from the current pre-school or school, co-workers, sports team, other lessons, camp, Scout troop, etc. Then comes the school tour and open house visit and maybe attending the PTA/PTSA meeting. I liked hearing that families were sending a second and third child to the same school; that told me that they weren’t regretting the decision they had initially made with Child #1 and that there was some type of institutional memory within the parent community.

  • David

    wow, what a great video! as a Teacher, parent and taxpayer, i approve of this Public Relations expenditure. Hopefully, this video motivates more families to go take a look at the OUSD.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    The video looks nice to me. But in the meantime, while everyone sleeps, some really, really big wheels are spinning behind the scenes.

    For instance, read http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2009/11/gates-ponying-up-nearly-1-million-for.html

    Obama’s Arne Duncan has now inserted the henchmen of billionaires Eli Broad and Bill Gates into the highest levels at the Department of Education. A very narrow, business-oriented ideology is now determining the course of US public education. Educators have been shut out.

    Is this really okay with everyone? Where’s the national conversation?

    Oh right, I remember. Most people are unable to participate in that conversation because they simply are uninformed.

    This is big stuff, folks, but the mainstream media won’t cover it. To acquaint yourself, may I suggest you read Jim Horn’s “Schools Matter.”

  • Nextset

    The only commercials that will make a difference for OUSD are commercials showing OUSD graduates that have been well placed in military, higher education or jobs following OUSD graduation.

    Any other videos saying “Come on in, the water’s fine” won’t go far.

    People are worried about their children being homeless and unemployed 2, 5 or 10 years after age 18 – or worse, living in their childhood bedrooms unemployed/pregnant or addicted. They want a secondary school system they are confident will educate & discipline the kid and place the kid on the ladder of self sufficiency. The families of these kids don’t want to have to worry so much about the survival & future of the kids.

    That’s why they are NOT going to enroll them in OUSD.

  • Union Supporter-But

    The commercial is wonderful. Our public school feels that same enthusiasm expressed in the video.

    Are our teachers teaching all the grade level standards in elementary school, no.
    Are our students prepared to take Algebra in middle school, no.
    Are our students achieving at high levels on the fourth grade writing test or the fifth grade science test, not unless parents have supplemented outside our school.
    Teachers refuse to teach to the standards saying it’s not possible in elementary school.

    Take a look at some really great schools doing really great things –

    Redwood Heights and their pull-out music program in which students at all academic levels perform in school and in music – oh, diversity yes, achievement gap – almost none.

    Fruitvale Elementary School – 5th graders study and perform Shakespearian plays.

    Lincoln Elementary School huge numbers of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch, yet VERY high performance.

    The three schools above should have been prominently featured in the video having kids learning at high levels, not just a snippet of an algebra problem – Perhaps the district should allow each school to produce a video of their best classroom in the process of teaching and learning and then letting the citizens of Oakland view those videos before entering into the options process.

  • David

    Nextset: MIT, Harvard, Brown, UC Berkeley, etc. -OUSD recent graduates attend these schools. So, clearly, MANY people send their brilliant children to OUSD schools.

    The video is an attempt to reach out to more of these families/students. And I believe, in this economy, more families will choose the OUSD. And that commitment will make the district stronger (increase test scores).

  • Nextset

    David: Of Course OUSD kids, some kids, do well. No thanks to the school perhaps. Remember, the right side of the Bell Curve tend to teach themselves with whatever resources are handy. Nonetheless if OUSD has success stories where the school district was able to make a difference – “value added” – they should use such cases in their propaganda.

    And good luck with that.

    It’s my belief that OUSD is doing more harm to the larger number of average and left of the Bell Curve students while only having nominal success adding value to the right side of the Bell Curve.

    Families perceive this and are directing their kids to specific OUSD schools that they believe are an exception to OUSD’s norm or are exploring the Charters to direct their kid to a specific program there. Over time OUSD will lose enough kids to jump the shark completely – just like LA Unified. And no amount of “come on in, the water’s fine” will get decent people back.