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LAO: Most state mandates don’t really help schools

Check out this report released today on California’s education mandates. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says many of these activities are costly and don’t help kids or teachers.

Currently, the state requires K-12 and community college districts to perform hundreds of mandated activities, the majority of which provide little benefit to students or teachers. Since the state does not pay for K-14 mandates on a regular basis, the result is billions in outstanding costs the state must eventually pay. In this report, we recommend comprehensively reforming K–14 mandates. If a mandate serves a purpose fundamental to the education system, such as protecting student health or providing essential assessment and oversight data, it should be funded. If not, the mandate should be eliminated.

Do you agree? Which ones should go?

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An Oakland school’s back-to-back burglaries


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Adam Taylor has had it. He’s been principal of Brookfield Elementary School for only a year and a half; during that time, he estimates his school has been broken into — get this — at least 25 times.

Two of those break-ins took place within the last week. First, speakers, microphones and other audio equipment disappeared. Then, over the weekend, burglars forced their way through protective fencing and windows to enter the school, which is located in an isolated part of East Oakland, along the Interstate 880, and stole at least 20 computers.

When the first custodian arrived at the school this morning, Taylor said, half the classroom doors were wide open. Continue Reading

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Drive-by shooting near Frick; no students outside

Just before 10 a.m. this morning, a 19-year-old was walking along Foothill Boulevard, right next to the Frick Middle School play yard, when he was hit and critically wounded in a drive-by shooting.

As far as we know, no kids were outside at the time for the school’s prized physical education program (pictured below) or recess. If they had been, who knows what might have happened.

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Tribune file photo of a P.E. class at Frick Middle School

The shooting happened just a block from where 11-year-old Alana Williams was hit by a car and killed in a crosswalk on her way to school in October; police have yet to identify the driver, who fled the scene. 

Some of you have made the case for including the East Oakland middle school in the district’s new security cameras initiative; maybe, after this, Frick will make the list.