KQED holds town hall in Oakland Tuesday about the dropout crisis

UPDATE: Watch it live here from 5:40 – 8 p.m.

More than one in every three Oakland teenagers drop out of high school — a rate twice the state average, according to the most recent data from the California Department of Education from the class of 2009-10.

What’s more, Oakland’s black and Latino students quit school at significantly higher rates than the state average for students of their same racial backgrounds. Forty percent of Oakland’s Latino teenagers drop out, compared to 22 percent of Latinos statewide. And nearly half of the city’s English learners quit school, compared to roughly 30 percent statewide. (Click the previous link for Oakland data, which is also available by school and program, such as special education and language, on the drop-down menu. If you live in another California district, you can find the statistics here.)

As part of a national Corporation for Public Broadcasting campaign to find solutions to this crisis, KQED is holding a town hall for teachers. It starts at 5 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) evening in the Laney College Theater, and hosted by Glynn Washington of NPR’s Snap Judgment.

You can find more details about the event here. Below is a description:

Young people throughout our country are dropping out of school in high numbers. Teachers are on the front lines of this national and local crisis. Bring your expertise and share what works for engaging and supporting urban youth at the American Graduate Teacher Town Hall, sponsored by KQED. This event is created by teachers and for teachers and will be moderated by NPR’s Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has launched American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen — a national initiative to help combat the dropout crisis in this country. As part of American Graduate, KQED will address this issue by working with local schools, businesses and community organizations to raise awareness of the crisis and its impact on our communities.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Cranky Teacher

    The schools with the high drop-out rates need significantly more adults staffing them.

    It is relatively straightforward to teach large classes of middle-class kids who have support at home. The higher the student ratio, of course, the harder it is, but ultimately you can give assignments and expect them to have them completed, and attendance is on the parents, not you.

    At a school for the children of the working poor and the unemployed, students need parenting, psychological intervention, significant discipline, truancy interventions, and consistent relationships with firm yet caring adults OR THEY WILL QUIT because so many of them see no future.

    A first step toward this is a significant rerouting of state education monies to the schools with the poor children. It is not enough to get some added federal monies — if you want to stop the drop-out rate, you have to acknowledge it is significantly more expensive to effectively teach those not receiving support at home.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Katy, here’s a story tip: Emeryville’s new supe is slashing staff and the community is up and arms — they had a juicy board meeting tonight.

    She claims declining enrollment (which teachers say is because of lack of promotion, since E-ville relies on out-of-district transfers) and budget crisis is responsible. Others say her m.o. (and basis of her master’s thesis) is to RIF and non-re-elect as many teachers as she can so she can rebuild financially with cheap beginners. She did this at Castlemont a bit back, and we can all see how well that has gone (viz., previous thread).

  • Nextset

    What crisis?

    The educrats want to operate concentration camps with barbed wire where they are granted the power to intern people and hold them prisoner under whatever conditions they please to have.

    Too Bad, So Sad. People vote with their feet.

    In every single school I attended – my family attended – we were there because we were proud to be there and to be accepted. And that worked both ways – the schools knew there were worse students waiting to get in. If we decided to move elsewhere they’d have to see what was available to replace us and collect the tuition from (the church schools). It was a mutually satisfactory arrangement. I went to real schools.

    So if OUSD and the other urban schools cause their students to flee that is no crisis in my book. Cut their funding, fire their staff and reduce the urban schools further.

    And another thing – if the chillun do not want the education the school is selling, that’s not a crisis either. You don’t need an “education” to be a welfare mother or a prison inmate – or to be dead at 28.

    If society wants to run a welfare state, don’t come crying to me that (some of) the chillun don’t see a need to attend classes.

    It is never a crisis when things occur that were engendered by the complainers.

    Brave New World.

  • Katy Murphy
  • makeitgoaway

    Studies show that dropouts establish no connection with the school- no clubs, no favorite teachers, no sports, no attendance at dances or sporting events, etc. High School can be a sad and damaging place for some…

  • Livegreen

    This town hall was unimpressive. Almost no discussion about what works and can be expanded. Almost all talk on what isn’t. The few suggestions mentioned were general like mentorship and asking students to give more input.

    Both the panel and the comments were underimpressive…

  • Anita

    I attended last night but was disappointed. Most people who took up the limited microphone time were non-teachers. If might have been more successful as a “Teacher Town Hall” if KQED had managed who got to speak and given a limit to the amount of time people could speak…or even better screened people’s questions and comments via index cards etc….

  • Cranky Teacher

    Katy, do you know if and when and where the video will be made available again?

  • Oaklander

    Live Green and Anita – I fully agree. The conversation focused on so many issues on the periphery, that we barely spoke about the actual topic – the dropout crisis! The format was ineffective, as it allowed small issues take the reigns like Vitamin D Deficiency (which I recognize is a factor, but it got way too much airtime!)

    I was particularly disappointed by the lack of conversation around academics and literacy. These are the foundations that pre-k, elementary, and even middle schools must lay so that we PREVENT the dropout crisis. Kids have to be able to read in order for teachers to invest them in topics of their interest which will keep them in school and inspire them to graduate.

  • oaklandedlandscape

    There are many success stories in Oakland. Schools with high graduation and college matriculation rates. Why not invite them to see what is working? Seems simple.