Oakland Unified’s hard-line charter schools office says the district should renew its contracts with two schools: Oakland School for the Arts, a middle and high school located in the renovated Fox Theater building downtown, and Berkley Maynard, one of six charters in Oakland that are run by Aspire Public Schools, a management organization.
Translation: The district will support a “teach-in” and demonstrations before and after school — as long as the actions don’t “impede student learning,” according to OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint.
Betty Olson-Jones, the teachers union president, says there is not a strike planned for March 4, but that some teachers and students plan to be out of school that day. Others, she said, will picket before school starts or, possibly, take their children on a “walking field trip” to demonstrate.
“What we’re trying to do is make it a very educational event,” she said.
Olson-Jones said the union sees the purpose of March 4 activities as twofold: to bring attention to the reduced education funding in the state, and to rally support for the Oakland teachers union, which is in the final stage of contract negotiations with the school district. (Status update: A fact-finding panel is scheduled to hold a hearing the week of Feb. 22 and could come out with a report in early March.)
The relocation of Tilden School is also on the agenda. The district staff’s recommendations include the creation of a preschool and special needs diagnostic center on the Burbank campus in East Oakland’s Millsmont neighborhood. That’s the current location of Explore Middle School, which is slated to close in June. The report doesn’t say where the existing students would go, only that it would be to a “minimal” number of schools. I hope to have more information soon.