The U.S Department of Education today released a list of 21 communities that won planning grants to design a system of educational, social and health support services for children in poor neighborhoods.
Los Angeles and Hayward are the only two cities in California that received those Promise Neighborhood planning grants of up to $500,000. Cal State East Bay will be the lead organization in the South Hayward project, which will involve people from the city, school district, university and nonprofit sectors.
I wrote a story about Hayward’s news, which will be in tomorrow’s paper.
It doesn’t mean, for sure, that Oakland won’t have a Promise Neighborhood akin to the one created in Harlem; Superintendent Tony Smith said today, via Spokesman Troy Flint, that the city will definitely apply for the much larger implementation grants next year. But it’s probably safe to say that the districts that won the planning grants will have an edge in the second round.
“Obviously, we were very disappointed, but we are going to press on with our vision for Promise Neighborhoods,” Flint said. “We still feel that this is the best solution for these neighborhoods.”
The Peralta Community College District was the lead agency listed in Oakland’s grant application. I wonder if that — and the ethics and fiscal oversight issues reported by Matt Krupnick — worked against the city.
Just this month, at a Peralta college, our nation’s education secretary pledged to do whatever he could to help the Oakland school district transform, and he said he fully supported Superintendent Tony Smith’s vision for the district. Which, as you probably know, is to create “full-service community schools” a la Harlem Children’s Zone.
So when the list came out and Oakland wasn’t on it, Flint said, “Everybody here was a bit surprised.”
Flint said OUSD planned to look into the shortcomings of the application to see how they can become more competitive for the next round. If and when those application ratings are posted, I’ll let you know.