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Another reason for summer school: national security?

Staff PhotojournalistRetired military officers think so.

The nonprofit Mission: Readiness (affiliated with the public safety-related group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids) put out a report this week arguing that summer inactivity was contributing to the obesity crisis and high dropout rate — which, in turn, poses a threat to the economy and the military’s ability to recruit.

What do you make of that link? I wrote about it in today’s Oakland Tribune.

While we’re on the subject: In case you missed it, summer programs at Global Family Elementary School, Roosevelt Middle School and Madison Middle School were featured in Sunday’s paper.

Along with the story, you’ll find a video of the new summer science classes at Global Family (free STEM courses are in place at 17 Oakland elementary and middle schools this year) and a very practical feature on how to make s’mores without a campfire. (As my friend Sandler found out, solar ovens are great for melting chocolate, but don’t do much to marshmallows.)

photo by D. Ross Cameron/Oakland Tribune

Katy Murphy

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

  • livegreen

    How does a school access a STEM program? Is it top down, or can any school participate?

  • Katy Murphy

    Good question. I believe this year’s STEM programs — 5 elementary and the rest middle school — were chosen among Title I schools that were already planning to offer a summer school in the morning. The STEM afternoon component would make those programs full-day.

    Elementary schools with STEM (Bechtel-funded) programs: Allendale, Sobrante Park, East Oakland Pride, Global Family, Greenleaf.

    Nearly all of the middle schools had a STEM course in the afternoon (funded by a two-year grant from Walmart that OUSD and just a handful of other districts in the U.S. received) or engineering program (Bechtel-funded): Edna Brewer, Roosevelt, Montera, ROOTS, United for Success, Coliseum College Prep, Alliance, Bret Harte and Urban Promise had STEM, and Madison, West Oakland Middle and Frick had an engineering program coordinated by OUSD’s math department.

    Claremont is not on the list, and I’m told that’s because it’s going through yet another transition in leadership and had a limited ability to offer a summer program this year.

  • Seenitbefore

    yes, yes….. Claremont.

    Funny how the district was able to rent out the entire Claremont campus to the Berkeley Young Musicians Program for this entire summer… but there was no way to address and support the needs of Claremont students and the Claremont community…..once again! Keep your eyes on Claremont….. it will be the next school on the chopping block. The destabilization of Claremont has been going on for several years now.

    Another complete change of administration and another 1/3 of the teaching staff will be completely different this coming year.

  • Nontcair

    Mission: Readiness .. put out a report this week arguing that summer inactivity .. poses a threat to .. the military’s ability to recruit.

    M:R is basically is a public education advocacy (lobbying) group which wants the schools to:

    1) expand early childhood programs
    2) upgrade their cafeterias
    3) better emphasize PE

    Once again we see public education being used as a *political* institution. In this instance, as a way to ensure a steady, adequately sized pool of suitable recruits for the perennially politicized US Armed Forces.

  • Nontcair

    #2 wrote Claremont is not on the list, and I’m told that’s because it’s going through yet another transition in leadership and had a limited ability to offer a summer program this year.

    Here we can see why it’s a terrible idea to allow private interests to donate money to public school districts, or rather, to allow the districts to accept the money.

    Wealthy, private commercial interests like Wal*Mart, Bechtel, and so forth are perfectly capable of providing classroom space, furnishing materials, etc. by themselves. Why should kids who might otherwise be eager to attend free, summer enrichment classes in their own neighborhoods be held hostage by a public education bureuacracy which can’t get its act together?

    Then there’s the purely political phenomenon of private interests throwing money around for the purpose of winning favor from elected officials who would then (quid pro quo) return the favor by granting those special interests dispensation on licensing, regulations, property tax assessments, and so forth, AKA “rent seeking”.

    Finally, here we yet another example of the relentless mission creep which has lead the schools to the dire straits they find themselves in today. In this instance, district paid officials taking on a role of implementing some private education initiative, thereby laying the groundwork for a more official, district-wide adoption of those curricula items in the future leading to higher costs (taxes), a corresponding increase in the amount of schoolkid failure rates, and further “justifying” their own existence.

    If those bureaucrats would only conern themselves with teaching Johnny how to read during the 180 or so school days (x 12 years!) which they’re institutionally chartered to be involved with, everyone would be a LOT better off.

  • Nontcair

    Do the US Armed Forces still administer aptitude tests (unsolicited) to high school kids?

    Lemme’ guess: The schools receive a finder’s fee for each student who passes and ultimately enlists.

    If neocon groups like M:R would just stick to lobbying Congress for higher Pentagon appropriations then maybe I wouldn’t mind so much. I get a little ticked off when they start using school kids as a captive audience.

    Why don’t those $100K+ DoD pensioners simply buy ads on youth-oriented media like MTV and fB?