Announcing … the Title I awards

This just in from the California Department of Education:

Academic achievement awards for 209 schools that serve large numbers of poor children and are closing the achievement gap. (Criteria explained here.) There are fourteen awardees in Oakland — 10 district elementary schools, four charter schools — and two in Berkeley. They were selected from the 6,000-plus schools statewide that participate in the Title I program for low-income students.

Last year, there were just six in Oakland and one in Berkeley to earn this distinction.

Here’s the list of East Bay awardees:

Jefferson Elementary
Washington Elementary

American Indian Public Charter
American Indian Public Charter School II
Bella Vista Elementary
Burckhalter Elementary
Carl B. Munck Elementary
Cleveland Elementary
Greenleaf Elementary
Lighthouse Community Charter High
Lincoln Elementary
Manzanita SEED
Oakland Charter Academy
Peralta Elementary
Sequoia Elementary
Think College Now

Katy Murphy

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

  • John Garrett

    Love it. Go schools!

  • Trish Gorham

    Congratulations to all the schools. (Although I will never trust results coming out of American Indian Charter.)

    Out of the ten OUSD schools listed, 2 are ones that were created in the mass displacement of students and teachers.

    Stability of schools seems to best “restructuring”, based on these awards.

  • Ms. J.

    As a former and current Bella Vista teacher and a former SEED teacher I’ve participated in both an autonomous small schools and a traditional one. I think that the common strength of the two schools is the cohesion and continuity of the staff, which can in large part be credited to the strong leadership at both schools. I agree that stability is a key, and think that the low turnover at both schools has helped them and their students to thrive.
    Are you listening, powers that be?

  • Nextset


    Be sure to research the scandals over the Standardized testing erasure rates in the DC Schools under Michelle Rhee. It seems that an extraordinary rate of erasures (of wrong answers to correct answers) were occurring in these award winning schools. The rate of erasures were so outrageous statistically they belie the “narrowing the gap” nonsense that had been pushed on a clueless public – while the administrators walked off with huge $$ bonuses as rewards. Parents who complained that their struggling children couldn’t have actually obtained their given math or verbal scores were barred from campus.

    While it would be wonderful I suppose if the minority youth woke up one morning and stopped performing as minority youth, it’s just not going to happen and it’s certainly not going to happen in statistically significant large numbers. When it does happen – start looking for the eraser marks.

    We were not born last night.

    It’s easiest to play games with stats when you are dealing with primary schools. And (relatively) small schools are even easier to cook the stats. All you have to do (if you don’t have an eraser)is move in some Jewish and Asian kids and get the black and brown kids to not show up for a few tests. Bingo, you have a miracle of Gap Narrowing! Or maybe you just change the classification of all the Carly Simons, Carol Channings, and the rest of the hybrid students to “black”. We’ve all seen these games so many times it’s just not new anymore.

    So I’m not amused by the constant attempts to say any given school has found the secret to making authentic black kids test white – outside of a military base (military screens for IQ, therefore those students are no longer random samples but rather the offspring of a higher IQ set of parents).

    The gap is not nurture. Any attempt to nurture your way out of the Gap produces co-ordinating increases in the scores of non-minority students that keep the gap constant.

    The right thing to do here is to push all the students in a given school to perform the best they can under the most appropriate discipline the school can offer – and let the chips fall where they may. Beyond that the students should be educated on how they can make the most of their particular skillset in life and not forced to be square pegs in round holes.

    The sudden and mysterious “closing of the gap” claims are no more honest than weight loss schemes and cancer cures. We wish they were true, and thats why they never go away.

    The Gap is less of a problem is you just stop worrying about it and just work the students like hamsters on a wheel. Maybe the real dullards will transfer out (they will, you know – if you turn the school into a real “school”). Then your scores will go up.

    Brave New World.

  • http://www.ba-tti.org Bob Houghteling

    Congratulations to all these schools! Lots of focused hard work goes into this kind of success, starting with good leadership. Other ingredients for success that I have observed include a stable teaching staff that works hand-in-hand with the principal,rather than an adversarial relationship. And parents that hang around but don’t interfere make a positive difference, too.
    The teaching credential program I direct has student teachers at Sequoia, and I know of the dedicated, veteran teaching staff there. Peralta is another school I have seen in action, as I have volunteered there teaching math once a week for three years. I have observed an upper elementary group of teachers that collaborate well, work hard on perfecting their curriculum, and effectively use the resources of the school (such as a well-organized learning specialist). From what I have seen, the three teachers in fourth and fifth grades keep the respect of the children by a balanced approach. They run a tight ship in those classrooms, but their affection for the kids comes through loud and clear. These teachers have high expectations for all their kids, are encouraging but honest, and have good follow through with the children and their parents. Kudos again to this growing group of schools!

  • Turanga_teach

    Nextset, I work in one of the Title I award schools listed here and am close to colleagues in most of the others. I’ve signed the LEGALLY BINDING affidavit and handled the tests. I know dozens of the kids whose performance led to this award and I’ve seen them (and their teachers) in action, narrowing the gap. You will NEVER hear me arguing that closing the achievement gap is a quick, easy matter of standardized test performance.

    Nevertheless, it is sixteen different kinds of offensive to me that you, who do not have a direct working relationship with the places you’re smearing, dismiss their genuine struggles and hard-won gains as “Black kids did better, so there must have been cheating.”

  • J.R.

    I see great teachers every day, and there is almost nothing better and more satisfying than watching a masterful teacher engage and encourage young minds and then WHAM! The light-bulb moment, its just fantastic.It’s just too bad the education system was made so backwards and these teachers don’t receive the pay they deserve. As for Next, some people have egos and compensation that far outstrip their actual value to society. I am not impressed by people(a large part of whom are on the taxpayers dime) who can massage the truth to bring the desired result(and the money).

  • T. Anthony

    I live in the same neighborhood as the American Indian school. I don’t know if they are cheating or not, #2. It wouldn’t surprise me.

    It does makes me mad that they say they are for all students, but then they don’t have enough respect for their Latino students to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day. It also makes me mad that they have all that talk about capitalism and today they have Fox News shows up to tape a segment about how great they are. I was talking to the crazy man who started the school – he was there this morning and he said they were going to have a camera crew there all week. “I didn’t even know it was Ben Chavez Day,” he said laughing. I was not laughing.

    How can we let a public school get away with this? Isn’t there a state law about recognizing these holidays? To make it worse Faux News Channel is there to make them look good for breaking the law and for pushing capitalism?

    I hope they turn the camera on me. I hope the people who know the REAL truth about American Indian tell their story to that FAKE news program.

  • Trish Gorham


    I hope they do turn the cameras on you. You can tell them about how B.Chavez shaved a student’s head as a disciplinary measure.

    A Cesar Chavez holiday was allowed by state legislature, but enacted by local authorities. It was actually the OEA bargaining team, in 2003, that negotiated the holiday in OUSD (We made a 4 day weekend in February a 3 day and moved the day to honor Chavez.) Charter schools have no obligation to abide by OUSD’s calendar or contract.

  • Sharon

    FYI, high scores on state tests don’t always translate to high SAT scores.

    High API high schools (> 900) and their Total SAT scores (Reading+Math+Writing, w/participation rates > 82%, 2009 figures).

    – American Indian Public High School (charter): API 946; Total SAT 1596
    – Lowell High in SF: API 949; Total SAT 1816
    – Miramonte High in Moraga: API 928; Total SAT 1872
    – Campolindo High in Orinda: API 919; Total SAT 1830
    – Gunn High in Palo Alto: API 915; Total SAT 1924

    And if you’re thinking that affluent school kids score higher b/c of expensive SAT prep courses, it still doesn’t account for over a two-hundred point difference. A 2009 study showed that SAT prep courses only raised critical reading scores by about 10 points and math scores by about 20 points.

    And even some high schools with strong API scores have some pretty dreary SAT scores
    – Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy (charter): API 792; Total SAT 1179
    – Lighthouse Community Charter High: API 726; Total SAT 1265

  • Nextset


    I know this is a difficult concept, so let’s take it slow.


    When something is a certain amount off the stats – there is a reason for the deviation.

    In the case of the wonderful DC improvements, while it’s possible the black students that dominate DC public schools may all (in the schools in question) have honestly improved their scores at the same time they turned in test sheet erasures of wrong to right answers at a level seen nowhere else in the world – it’s not likely. You can interpet my willingness to presuppose cheating as whatever you want. Maybe it’s just a coincidence bonuses of up to $20K were paid over such improvement.

    I’m in a business where human behavior is the coin we deal in. This is not the first time I’ve had to explain the facts of life to people in love with the subject. The Barry Bonds trial is a very interesting syndrome. I deal with the world the way it is and assist others in dealing with reality.

    Individual test scores may radically improve for many good reasons. Once you are dealing with large numbers of people – human behavior can be tracked with actuarial science. Anomalies can be spotted for further investigation. Deal with it and stop whining.

    Wishing the black students well does not mean you lap up cheating and cooking the books on scoring, besides it is so easy to cross validate such things as this that the (DC controversy) cheating won’t get far at all in the face of investigation. Anyway, when the school district engenders the cheating – if that’s what happened – there is no intention of having an investigation. That (would be) is why the schools silenced the parents that complained or started making their stories known.

    The point I continue to make every time I see a thread about some primary school that claims they’ve turned around the “Gap” is that they are most probably either lying, cooking the numbers, or misleading the gullible public as to the meaning of the score changes reported. The readership needs to be more critical if they are to have any chance to avoid being fooled.

    There is reason to believe and many psychometricians do believe the “Gap” is as much biological as anything else, nature rather than nurture. The different groups appear to have different distributions of IQ for various reasons. Since everything else about human biodiversity has different distributions this is not exactly an unreasonable notion but it flys in the face of what some people want to believe.

    If we rest our public policy on what some people want to believe rather than reality some people are going to get hurt. Guess who’s getting hurt?

    So I look for high school stats for any real evidence of changes and new outlooks. Not primary schools where these games are easier to play. I also look for numbers from larger groups of people not a class and a school. I don’t enjoy being lied to. You shouldn’t either.

    You can find some Black students who score well on many things. You are not going to find a large group of Blacks anywhere who profile as Asians or any other group in medical profiles or educational achievement testing. Likewise you are not going to find a large group of whites who profile as a large groups of Asians or Jews. The groups are different – do you get it? The larger the group you are testing, the more you are able to dicern the difference. The difference is often called Biodiversity. People like being themselves and they sure don’t want to change for you or for me.

    If you interpret this reality (large scale testing results) as me somehow not liking Blacks or Asians, wishing other people ill, or the like, you shouldn’t be teaching. You just can’t deal with reality and will teach non-reality.

    And beating up on kids because their particular subject test scores don’t rise like you want them to is not going to get you or them anywhere. You provide reasonable instruction, then grade the student and place them on a reasonable vocational track. You don’t ever promote them to their level of incompetence.

    And you don’t falsify the test results either.

    I know nothing about the schools listed here. Here we are not talking of the issue of erasure rates found at the DC schools. My previous points of how fragile these scores and rates can be still apply. The Gap is stronger and stable after puberty which is why the game players ALWAYS use primary school scores to fool the public that they have invented new people. I am mainly saying that these scores bandied about from these primary schools from month to month should be taken with a shaker of salt and we should not make any statements based on them that somebody has “closed the gap” this week. It’s too painful when it doesn’t hold water. Although I believe a good school – of which OUSD is not known for – can improve the academic competitiveness of black students – it’s way too soon to tell based on this primary school testing that it has occurred here. You need to take the “improved” black students through high school before you claim they are the new improved black students.

  • Nextset

    Sharon – what’s you conclusion about the American Indian scores not matching the score profiles of the other schools?

  • Nextset

    Another thing, T Teach: the ” LEGALLY BINDING affidavit” is a joke. It means little to me and can actually be a red flag for trouble/cheating.

    One of the things cheating school districts will do is create fig leaves to hide behind as they set a stage for widespread cheating – intending for cheating to occur. Whenever you have high-stakes testing you have increasingly strong incentives to cheat.

    If cheating is not intended to occur, you will see the handling, administration and collection & scoring of the tests done in such a manner that test cheating is physically unable to occur. Is that what you are vouching for here? An affidavit is only as good as the maker. Kind of like a check.

    Were the test sheets collected, placed in a Fedex container and immediately taken to Fedex and timestamped within an minutes of the exam (all in double custody of randomly assigned proctors)? If DC schools had done this perhaps those eraser marks would not have been on all those answer sheets.

    It’s not the pretty words on the affidavits, it’s also the structure of the testing experience that gives one confidence in the fidelity of the scores.

    And that only goes to the test sheets. Recoding mixed students as black is still possible, and in small test groups moving a high scorer from white (actually jewish) to black will affect the black score comparisons over the previous year.

    Or maybe there are other things that produce short term bursts of competitiveness. The problem is getting black aggragate score to durably increase – like through High School. I suppose you want the black (group) scores to test out as something other than black.

    Good luck with that.

  • Can’t believe it

    Sharon- nice post. that says it all. Katy there’s a story there…

  • FruitvaleRes

    I’m missing something here Can’t Believe It…what all does it say? The current reality of education in the US is that more affluent children score higher on the SAT.

    The second – and more significant – question is – so what?

    The greatest predicator of college success (assuming that is your focus) is the students high school GPA – not SAT or ACT. See link.


  • Salt

    American Indian is the best school system in Oakland! All of you haters are jealous because of all the media attention they get! Cmon, you know OUSD would love to be on camera.

    They are news cause their model is what all schools should follow to make sure their is no acheivement gap any longer. OUSD does not want to visit them cause the truth will show just how messed up the district school really are!

    Unions hate them cause the indian schools will one day take over the district!

    Keep it up Mr. Chavez; the “darkies” support you!

  • gordon danning


    Why is anyone surprised that API scores do not match well with SAT scores? SAT is more rigorous. A junior who is still in Geometry could do well on the CST (upon which much of API is based), but bomb on the SAT, because it tests post-Geometry math.

    I don’t know much about American Indian, except that I have several seniors this year who transferred from American Indian due to disappointment with lack of rigor. Of course, it is certainly possible that American Indian does a great job with struggling students, but not such a great job with more advanced students. It is also possible that is does a better job with younger students than with older.

  • Nextset

    I tend to think Gordon Danning’s comment above on AI is important.

    A school can not always be all things to all people. It’s a reason why we are better served with a range of schools the individual students can select from. It’s difficult to be the best school for struggling students at the same time as the advanced students. This is true of colleges as well.

    On this note I’d love to see OUSD set up separate campuses for college prep and for the prole students and label the schools accordingly.

  • AH

    Re American Indian-

    Using demographic stats (2007-08):

    For 2007-2008, the AIPCS student body of approximately 180 students represents the following ethnic groups:

    46% Asian
    23% African-American
    22% Latino
    3% American Indian/Alaskan Native
    < 2% Caucasian, Pacific Islander, Filipino

    The article also points out that American Indian II, is over 60 percent Asian, and only recruits from Lincoln, which is a high performing school.

    I don't know why these schools can get away with this.


  • Nextset


    I don’t understand your post # 19 above.

    What is it AI is “getting away with”? I see it’s demographic above, is there a problem with it? Do you merely object that it’s name – American Indian – appears to have nothing to do with it’s demographic? Since when does a school name have to limit who is enrolled there? Schools named after Jewish Civic Leaders may be all black – it can happen. Likewise Robert E Lee High School. UC Davis named it’s Law School MLK Hall for some reason. Does that mean Blacks predominate?

    As far as AI recruiting from higher performing feeder schools – good for them. Presumably they are not in the market for problem children of any color. Good schools aren’t, you know. And AI seems to be a good school, with good students (“good” doesn’t refer to the dirt it’s built on or the quality of the sheet rock).

    So good for them.

    Also, what’s AI II? is that an affiliated school to AI?

  • Nextset

    Here’s a USAToday story about the DC Schools and the test cheating issue:


  • AH

    They are a public charter and as such, they are not supposed to cherry pick their students. If there are more applicants than available spaces, they are supposed to hold a lottery. They should not function as a private school on the public dime.

    As for the name, populations can change. But calling it American Indian implies some greater focus on a particular ethnic group. It would be better, IMO, to name it after an important American Indian Leader – someone like Chief Joseph or Sitting Bull or Geronimo.

  • Yastrzemski

    @ AH…do you know for a fact that AI II is doing this, or are you just assuming that they are?
    AI II is around the corner from Lincoln Elementary, which is predominately Chinese, being in Chinatown, so it is looked on as their “public middle school”. There are kids from other Oakland schools there too (Crocker Highlands for one), and they ARE holding a lottery this year because of the higher number of applicants. They are actually more “honest” in their admissions because they do not have a “sibling preference”, as the OUSD public schools do. As for “cherry-picking”, if the entire 5th grade from Lincoln Elementary applies, than it would stand to reason that a large percentage of the incoming 6th grade would be from Lincoln.

  • Nextset

    AH – do you have a citation to a statute that expressly forbids cherry picking?

    Seem to me that UC Davis Cherry Picks, ditto Cal State, the concept of Cherry Picking is not exactly alien.

    On the High School Level, my public high school would not let you enroll in advanced classes without satisfactorily completing pre-reqs. Isn’t that a form of Cherry Picking? Likewise being allowed to play on a sports team and the amount of play time you got. You had to be good at it or no play.

    What you give as (prohibited?) Cherry Picking I see as “suitability”. Many students are just not suitable for a good school. They are a bad match, they’d just get flunked out. The public high school I attended back in the day did hand out Fs, and Ds also. More than a few students withdrew from my school and enrolled elsewhere, in less academically centered public schools. It just didn’t work out for them. Others who didn’t take a hint with all the Fs got involuntarily transferred to a continuation school.

    So I have no illusion that a good public school should be expected to enroll and retain everybody. Quite the contrary. We should have suitable schools for all, and AI is just one option for those who can cut the mustard and keep up.

    OUSD needs good schools, like AI. And bad students should be kept out of them.

  • Anon

    @AH, I believe it’s the case that if charters want to use certain pots of funding, they have to give priority to students from the attendance area in which they’re located. I know this is the case for one of the new elementary charter schools; their lottery explicitly says kids zoned for xxx school have preference over the general pool because their funding requires it. You could argue that locating your charter in the attendance area of a school that is already high-performing is a strategy, but honestly I suspect so much else goes into that decision that it’s not a very big factor. Lincoln students are also zoned to Westlake for middle school, which isn’t particularly nearby if you live in Chinatown and hasn’t been especially high-performing, so again, not a huge surprise that they’re looking elsewhere.

  • Ms. J.

    I read the USA Today story Nextset recommended. It is so outrageous and so totally predictable. I wish it would get more press, but since I doubt the sincerity of education ‘reformers’ such as Rhee (and Duncan) I imagine people in a position to do something about such corruption are in fact pleased by it.

    However, I don’t think we should assume that all test gains are a result of cheating. Inasmuch as such gains reflect narrowing of curriculum and teaching to the test, of course, they are bad enough. However, I’m reading Linda Darling-Hammond right now and she refers to research which shows that children who have access to higher level, challenging, problem-solving curricula do better not only on open-ended performance assessments but also on multiple-choice, lower level tests such as the CST. I don’t know the extent to which that is the case with the schools honored in Oakland, but based on my experience with expeditionary learning and teacher-created curriculum at SEED I would be willing to bet that SEED’s test gains were honest, resulting from excellent teaching and real learning by the students.

    And yet, and still, the article Nextset referenced just underlines the very worst of a terrible continuum of results when we reduce education to multiple choice tests and rewards.

  • Nextset

    Ms. J: The problem the article exposes is really not the cheating.

    The problem is that the cheating is inevitible. It was supposed to happen. It’s human nature. The school district deliberately arranged for it to happen by making it physically possible at the same time they created overwhelming incentives to do so.

    Then they sit back and exclaim they are shocked.

    And the rest of us claim we are shocked, shocked.. Say it’s isn’t so…

    None of these things would be happening if we (collectively) didn’t want it to happen.

    If we want things to get better for the students, the workers, and everyone else we need to stop running school systems as a fantasy world and deal in brutal reality. Like we did prior to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. We had plenty of progress then, and scores were true. High school graduates could be counted on to be able to count and read and knew how to behave. The funny thing about those years is that we thought we could somehow do better by changing to this. And now we have uneducated black students and more segregation (as opposed to educated black students and segregation).

    I’m certainly not calling for racial segregation by law – I am calling for segregation by performance and aptitude without regard to race – letting the chips fall where they may. When it’s sink or swim time people take lessons better. Europe has high stakes testing but I don’t recall hearing of scandal and wholesale cheating on their national A Levels tests. I don’t think that test administration is designed for cheating. I lifetime ago I went to public schools in the Bar Area and we never had a cheating scandal. But the standardized tests were few, an annual test at the school with outside proctors brought in and of course the PSAT and the SAT – again with outside proctors.

    Any problems with testing are just self created by the districts. But perhaps the testing service makes it possible/easy for them to cheat by deliberately careless test administration rules.

    But in the end – statistics rule the day. We should teach it in high school. It’s harder to fool people who have a decent understanding of stats.

    Which is why I can’t buy the endless articles of miracle cures for “the gap” at some primary school. It’s not that I don’t wish the black students well, but I wasn’t born yesterday like a lot of these readers. Yes you can produce improvements. No you can’t change stats for large groups this easy and this fast. That gap is too well established. Efforts to move the black scores in large numbers produce similar (or larger) movement in the scores of the other groups to maintain the gaps. The four groups tend to move in concert. And there is plenty of research and writings explaining why.

    And these issues are beside the point of getting the black/brown students onto the ladder of success. I want them employable, acceptable to the military or higher education or in a career path upon reaching 18 and graduating high school. Test scores are nice – but higher test scores by themselves can be optional if you have a reasonable plan to accomplish occupational goals.

  • Sue

    How come now has made a stink about schools with a predominate Black or Latino population? Asians, in particular, Chinese families are being talked about as if they are these martian children!

    I think most of the people who post on this blog have exposed the true spirit of the educational divide in Oakland. If you are Asian, you are exopected to learn and can quite possibly, as commented in this blog, be looked down upon cause you are too smart, ( a terrible sterotype to live up too by the way)! and If you are black or brown, no you are not smart and a school is only seen as “real” when you populate and fail!

    Some serious issues are emerging here that are well rooted in America. By using this type of thought, the terrible “bussinG period took hold years ago. Did that work?

    Look American Indian has problems,especially their lack of academic programs for struggling students(from what I know) but so do all other OUSD schools! I think that at the very least- parents have a choice and that is powerful! Too bad the unions do not see it that way, but their slow demise may force them to change .

    Yeah right!

  • Sue

    I meant to say “how come no one has…..”

  • J.R.

    “Too bad the unions do not see it that way, but their slow demise may force them to change”.

    They will be put out on their collective backsides. No more mandatory paycheck confiscation will be a good thing for starters.

    I wonder what all those union people do to go out and earn money instead of money flowing to them? No doubt those liberal arts degrees will come in handy.

  • Nextset

    Sue: Why is it a problem if AI doesn’t have “academic programs for struggling students”? Perhaps they are not interested in that market. Where is it written that a school must be all things to all people?

    Some schools are preforming arts schools, some are in the market for science programs, some are there for rad-lib political indoctrination (and admit it), some are into foreign languages and cultures. The whole point of Charters is to let the families choose for themselves what the want for their offspring, and who they want their offspring to associate with.

    AI seems to have a thing about college prep (I believe). Many children have no business anywhere near a college prep program. Must AI be expected to cater to dull students at the expense of their college prep program?

    And should any school – even a public school – that is running a college prep program at a particular campus be expected to accommodate a dullard? – Remember my experiences at Oakland Tech Summer Session when it was run by UC Berkeley as a demonstration high school program? They threw out students right and left for getting too many (quiz) Ds and Fs or missing 3 days of class for any reason including sickness. Students and parents would be told they weren’t working out and needed to leave.. Was that WRONG?

    Viva la difference…

    Students – especially the middle school and up students (where the “differences” are noticeable) need to go to appropriate schools with appropriate programs for them. Like they do in Europe. That’s how everyone avoids wasting time and getting frustrated unreasonably. This is what’s needed in OUSD.

    Students should not be in programs where they are statistically certain to fail. And bright students should not be in dumbed down classes to accommodate the dullards.

  • Jim Mordecai


    Large comprehensive schools traditionally provided tracking that followed your line of
    reasoning: “Students should not be in programs where they are statistically certain to fail. And bright students should not be in dumbed down classes to accommodate the dullards.”

    I think in the autobiography of Malcolm X, ghosted by Alex Haley, Malcolm Little was counseled against college. In contrast George Bush’s entitlement called a college legacy meant he partied with fellow legacy entitled wealthy recreational drug dullards as well as middle and upper class bright lights.

    However, I think the tracking issue is a public issue to be decided by the values of the public.

    One thing about charter schools that are legally corporations is that they do not have to provide the public with the choice of understanding how they do things but only high test scores to receive funding as a “public school”.

    When I learn that AI’s Chavez pays $7.4 million for downtown Oakland building I want to know what the public doesn’t under current charter laws have a right to know because AI has a corporate right to play its cards close to its vest.

    And, I think $7.4 million gives a new meaning to high stakes testing. And, wonder if AI’s business plan provided leveraging ADA in buying that office building that as a non-profit comes off the City’s tax roll.

    Jim Mordecai

  • sue


    You are correct that they could choose to offer what they wish or dot; however charter law does say that they will have NO Admissions prefernces of any type. BUT

    Dont get me wrong, I do not dislike them (their arrogance gets under my skin) but thats got nothing to do with what they do.

    However, given that they have the no admissions preference clause, and the fact that their much spoken model is spoken of by many as a cure all- I think they should be able to put their money where their mouth is- dont you?

    I read the book and found it entertaining, I have spoke to evaluators of the school (from OUSD) and I have spoken to former teachers at the school who say the kids some how just consume the books at 6th grade. OK, so they are lucky and get the smart kids-more power to them; but c’mon! Stop preaching as the sole answer to solving the crisis of inner city students.

    I guess, when they do open the doors to anyone- and become a success (perhaps not a the level that they are at now) but success at the realistic all student level- I will want an autograph for my book!

    Jim- I dont understand your post. What buidling? If he can buy a building at that price, the district should have made a deal to sell him a building and made a profit.

  • Nextset

    Sue; Charter “law” saying Charters will have “no admissions preferences of any type” is meaningless. You have to understand, laws are frequently written to fool the public. The effect of a law or regulation can often be intended to accomplish the opposite of what it says. For example, Consumer protections laws that screw the consumers (Lemon law), Worker’s Comp Laws that screw the workers, Minimum Wage laws that destroy jobs. It’s a very old story.

    A rule on open admissions does nothing to prevent the proper flunking out of the dull students. It also won’t keep Charters from having a program calculated to only attract & retain black, white, mexican or asian students (the methods used start with the naming of the school).

    The whole point of charters is to allow schools and students to associate or dis-associate with people they like or don’t like in programs selected for certain people. Charters are created as polar opposites of public schools which PC requires to be all things to all people. Charters are here to serve their target constituiency. To each his own.

    I’m not sure which book you are referring to. Would that be a book by the founder of AI?

    I don’t have a sole answer to the problem of inner city education – I do believe that student/family choice of which school to try to fit into is key. Beyond that, all the schools should offer the discipline which is essential for the lower class to move up in society. Beyond that if they just get their prole students speaking standard english, and reading, writing and counting at national standards for each grade level they will have OUSD beat by a mile. I don’t think that’s too much to ask any Oakland area school.

  • J.R.

    I agree with nextset on some of this, I think the magnet needs to be rescinded. No welfare, no section 8, no affirmative action(we are inundated with people who hold degrees and positions that they do not merit by talent or training). Affirmative action was and is a scourge that propagates the lowest common denominator thinking. This transcends politics and goes into cultural differences, and attitudinal differences. Only intellectually lazy people classify human thought and action solely by political leanings.

  • sue


    Crazy Like a Fox : The Ben Chaves Story; is the tbook I was referring too.

    I see your point. Its true that laws do destroy the intent. However, a law can be used against a person if not followed. For example a business without workers comp, or one who pays workers less than minimum wage.

    My point is that if this is “The Model for inner city education,” such as the book and many of the proponents claim, then shouldnt they have all of their ducks in a row, (or at least the minimals) as they wait for attack from the status quo?

    I see your point though and agree that schools in Oakland should be allowed to select to a degree/

  • Ms. J.

    Maybe I’m “intellectually lazy,” but I am having trouble discerning the relevance of your comment in #30, “Maybe those liberal arts degrees will come in handy.” Am I right in reading the remark as an aspersion? Can you explain in what way your derogatory tone and sarcasm help to illuminate your points? Of course I’m asking these questions somewhat rhetorically and I have my own theory as to the real reasons you feel compelled to be so negative, but maybe I’m being unfair. Surprise me.

  • Ihatefoxtoo

    AIPCS doesn’t cheat. It’s disheartening as a teacher to continually read that. Why don’t you come on testing day? We have an open door policy. It’s easier to point fingers than to tutor until 6 pm every day and hold Saturday school 2x a month. Btw, do some reading. It’s Dr. Chavis, not Chavez. Also, the last thing Oakland students need is another day off to show respect for Chavez or Mlk Jr. Why don’t they come to school and read a book about them?!

    Sent from my phone. Please excuse the typos.

  • Joshua

    #38: There are ways to cheat and there are other ways to cheat.

    I dont believe AI is cheating in the obvious sense….that is to easy to catch. But in the less than obvious way, perhaps they are.

    However, OUSd cheats kids far more than they or any other high performing school can. So, keep up the work but please, get a goos spokesperson cause life after Chavis is dull to dumb with the AI school.

    Then again, I would hate to be the one to try and fill his shoes!

  • Jim Mordecai


    Office building at 171 12th Street was recently purchased for $7.4 million by Lumbee Properties LLC, a company founded and managed by Chavis. My understanding is that both Jorge Lopez Oakland Charter High and American Indian Public Charter School II I believe are housed at the 171 12th Street property. Lopez has a property management firm called Sun management group that collects the rent. The District’s webpage lists the Oakland Charter High School’s address as 171 12th Street.

    Perhaps they are not connected, but I suspect that AI charter schools had made possible the purchase of the multi-million dollar downtown office building.

    Jim Mordecai