Part of the Bay Area News Group

Oakland schools, facing civil rights investigation, could adopt “voluntary resolution”

By Katy Murphy
Monday, September 10th, 2012 at 4:31 pm in Uncategorized.

The Oakland school district’s approach to student discipline has become the subject of a federal investigation. But that inquiry might come to a halt if the school board agrees to take action first, voluntarily — which it might do on Wednesday.

Given the disproportionate number of out-of-school suspensions handed to Oakland’s African-American students, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights began looking in May to see whether those practices are racially discriminatory. (Since Oakland is hardly unique in these patterns, I called the Department of Education this morning to see how many other school districts are under investigation. I have yet to receive an answer.)

At Wednesday night’s regular meeting, the Oakland school board will be asked to approve a so-called “voluntary resolution” — a 20-page document that includes remedies ranging from parent education and staff training to schoolwide strategies such as restorative justice programs. It has identified 38 schools — roughly 45 percent — with the most disproportionate suspension and explusion rates of African American students, but the plan would be taken districtwide.

The resolution would also aim to reduce suspensions of the district’s special education students; nearly one in five were suspended at least once during the school year, twice the district’s overall rate, according to a study from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project in April.

I’d like to know what you think of the various aspects of this plan, and how you think it will — or could — help schools and students. Have you seen a school become safer and more harmonious while simultaneously reducing its out-of-school suspensions?

 

Oakland school district: Office for Civil Rights resolution

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Jim Mordecai

    Katy:

    What I am not clear about in reference to the UCLA study is what is the universe of African American students? Is it all enrolled K-12 students or is it a subset such as the OUSD high schools or high schools and middle schools?

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nextset

    Yep, Student…

  • Katy Murphy
  • Nontcair

    That the Board voted to set this matter aside for another day (indefinitely?) means that it can expect to spend a significant amount of money on lawyers to defend itself against ongoing OCR investigations and those still to come.

    Had the Board voted to approve the resolution it would have had to spend a significant amount of money on lawyers to ensure compliance with the terms of the resolution and to craft dispensations for the statistical results if could not make go away.

    Anyone see a pattern here?

    Now what’s all this talk about public education being for “the children”?

  • Works at Oakland School

    Due to the nature of my job, I sit in a lot of classrooms. In the past three weeks I have observed 4 veteran teachers. Only one of them has command of his classroom athough nothing has been taught yet. The others, two women and a man, do nothing about the behavior in their rooms. One just talks above them and nicely says they should not be so loud, one seems to have no clue what is going on his his room and it is a zoo, and the third has a quiet enough room but that is also because some are listening to their ipods and others texting.
    I have seen teachers (actually only one) though who know how to handle a classroom and as was said in a previous post above, the key seems to be calling the parents, or whomever is on the card, then and there and nipping the behavior in the bud. If a parent hears that he/she has to come to class to retrieve a cell phone or watch his child’s behavior, you can bet that child will not be repeating that behavior.
    All teachers at a school need to be on the same page. One can’t allow phones and another not. One can’t allow hats and another not. Everyone needs to follow the rules laid out in the handbook and the kids need to know that is where the rules are laid out.
    Whoever thinks that being a veteran teacher means you are in better command of the classroom should go observe an Oakland high school.
    And I don’t mean to sound racist but it isn’t the white kids who are misbehaving, it is the black kids.

  • Nontcair

    All teachers at a school need to be on the same page. One can’t allow phones and another not.

    Here we go again.

    Article 4 §7: Each house [of the Legislature] shall choose its officers and adopt rules for its proceedings.

    We also give Judges a lot of power over what goes on in their own courtrooms, including the setting of dress codes, eliminating chatter, and so forth.

    We do not give executive agencies — and especially not their low level employees — the power to set their own rules.

    And in public places outside of the chambers of the Capitol and the Courthouses, we certainly do not allow government officeholders to limit speech.

  • J.R.

    Works,
    Are you sure? This runs contrary to the union mantra that more experience equals better teachers. The union can’t be wrong, can it?

  • Nontcair

    Under the section entitled “Substantive Provisions”, part IIa (pdf pg 10) it says the following:

    .. school staff employ a range of corrective measures before referring a student to disciplinary authorities and/or law enforcement

    Who exactly are these “disciplinary authorities”? Do they work for Tony Smith? Are these the bureucrats who render punishments such as school suspension?

    This lengthy bureaucratic document was reviewed (signed by) one Jacqueline P. Minor, who carries the hifalutin title “General Counsel”. You can see her John Hancock on pdf pg 27.

    Anyway, SJMN identifies her as a Legal Advisor to OUSD’s Board of Ed, and values her TOTAL compensation package at $241K ($185K base)!

  • Nontcair

    “Substantive Provisions” Part I, is appropriately titled Collaboration with Experts” MAN! Is *that* ever an understatement! § (a) says:

    The District will continue to consult with experts in data analysis and research-based strategies to prevent the discrimination against [Afr-Am] students ..

    Data analysis? Time to hire more IBM IT consultants on H1-b visas at $250/hr. It continues:

    In addition to [a breathtaking list of left wing NGOs,] the District will partner with or retain other experts, as necessary, to meet its goal.

    §(b) — retainment of a “Lead Project Manager” (bureaucrat) — I already identified in #38. §(c) mentions a Subject Matter Expert Consultant who will be responsible for “supporting the VRP Team, managing internal and external communications about the VRP and establishing systems to evaluate successful of implementation of the Agreement.”

    Astonishing!

  • Nontcair

    §(c) ii talks about more RTI training, More RTI Training, MORE RTI TRAINING. Even for *parents*.

    Someone else already asked: “Who is supposed to be paying for all of this?”

    Meanwhile, § (d) talks about more TRAUMA training, More TRAUMA Training, MORE TRAUMA TRAINING.

  • J.R.

    Well, I guess they would just say what ballplayers say, “I gotta feed my family”, and please pass the prime rib & Grey Poupon.

  • Nontcair

    This whole emphasis on “training” is a legacy of the Progressive Era. You know, that wacky generation which brought us:

    the Federal income tax
    the US Federal Reserve Act
    WW I

    The old thinking goes that all of our problems can be solved by (increasingly) *centralized* application of expertise.

    The reason our experts are not expert enough is because their trainers need more training. And so on and so on.

    You can see how well this approach worked by looking at the former Soviet Union.

  • Nextset

    Nontclair: How do you mix training of children and adolescents with Socialism?? Economic policy for a nation has little to do with teaching blacks how to read and count – and to not be present oriented.

    OUSD is on the ground teaching non-white children how to make it in the Brave New World. That is hardly the same as Soviet Economic policy.

    OUSD fails because it does not want to hold non-whites accountable for anything including behavior. It will not flunk, transfer out, or maintain standards. Like the DC and Atlanta schools it is highly likely to cheat on testing given any chance to do so.

    Even the Soviet Union had no problem maintaining discipline in the ranks of children and adolescents. So whare is the comparison?

    Are you going to tell us something about what your are – age, occupation, education? I’m trying to follow your posts and they bounce between high school and early UC Berkeley radical. If I’m correct there that means you are a work in progress and will likely move politically into something else. On the other hand if you are a full grown adult then there’s something else at work here.

  • Nextset

    By the way, If you want to continue with the thread on Freedom of Speech – I was on jury duty recently and exactly how much freedom of speech do you think you have if you actually serve on a jury – You can be jailed for contempt if you so much as make a Facebook post about the trial prior to the verdict being rendered. And in CA it’s a crime to accept $$ for an interview about the trial within so many days of the verdict..

    The list of exceptions to each part of the Bill or Rights goes on and on. Would you argue that all of this is is not real or not binding on you because of a reading of your own of the Constitution?

    And if you work for the Justice Dept – or the Post Office – just try to go to a political convention, or even a local political fundraiser. FORBIDDEN. You can’t go, be seen, or speak out.

    Even political speech has limits for some people, time and place. Not to mention commercial speech. Not to mention every other “right” – government searches, for example. That’s a good one. Tons of exceptions to the search warrant right. TSA, DUI road blocks, “Border” Controls including those in Colorado. How about being forced to hand over the combination of a safe? or Your Cellphone? Give handwriting samples? How about being called as a witness against yourself during the prosecutions case in a SVP trial – when you’re up for a life term. Happens every trial.

    Only a child thinks anything in this world is absolute – especially laws of man.

    Child – or those acting/thinking like a child. And children get run over crossing a busy street without adult supervision.

  • Nontcair

    An early Berkeley radical!? I think you mean to insult me. They’re the ones *running* the asylum.

    Law school. Really.

    You should go to a (private) *elementary* school to take a remedial English course.

  • Nontcair

    A gag order in effect during a trial? No kidding.

    I’m the one who pointed out that we give a judge a lot of power over the conduct in his own courtroom — and beyond that boundary, over the parties involved in a case he is presiding over.

    Note that a judge cannot tell those parties that they can’t talk about things *unrelated* to the case.

    The so-called *list* of exceptions to the Bill of Rights (USC) is actually quite small, mainly having to do with a national emergency. The BofR also emphasizes that exceptions must only be carried out in accordance with due process.

    Since you keep bringing up the 4th Amendment, the standard is ‘not without probable cause’ and ‘not without specific information’. That’s supposed to place a very high burden on the government. Of course in practice “professionals’ make that narrow exception broad enough to drive a truck through.

    Your point about US Military and US Postmasters stems from the constitutional provisions of separation of powers and the duties/obligations of USG non/civil officeholders.

    Sobriety checkpoints, TSA, and so forth. All unconstitutonal.

    Your references to statutes and court decisions that are completely at odds with the what the Constitution actually says are just rhetorical devices. Appeals to authority.

  • Nextset

    Baloney.

    While I don’t agree that the SC can create rights out of whole cloth – such as a federal abortion right – they have done so and it’s settled law now. Likewise they have clearly and openly used their authority to interpret the Constitution to insert exceptions to the Bill of Rights that are not actually written in the Bill of Rights – often in the case of balancing one right against another or in the instance of explaining that the Constitution is not a “suicide pact”.

    You still haven’t explained your education or experience – so there is no way to evaluate the rationality or prudence of anything you say. For all we know you are living in the bushes at People’s Park.

    Back to your mention of the powers of a judge in his courtroom – they run to control over spectators who do not have any role in a case. For example, controlling what a spectator can have written on a T Shirt (and at arraignment where there is no jury to contaminate). What line is that in the Constitution?

    You are trying to get the rest of us to accept that your read on Law means something. Like why?? If you want to call the game, learn the rules of the game. They are really not that complicated.

    Do it before you tell other people what they can safely do or not do.

    PS – do you believe the Fed or State Government can impose Income taxes and require people to file tax returns???

  • Nextset

    The striking Chicago Teachers just won.

    They will be free of any job repercussions of student’s standardized test scores – I expect.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/Parenting/chicago-reaches-tentative-deal-teachers-end-strike/story?id=17230693

    Never in the USA will any teacher agree to be responsible for the cognitive scores, IQ scores, of their students. Those cannot be changed by education.

    Time Pressure tests are proxies for IQ tests. They measure brain processing speed primarily although they are affected by coursework. Assuming the test cohort were all exposed to the same coursework, they are just IQ tests.

    And we know how IQ tests go comparing one ethnic against another in large numbers.

    Good for the Teachers. Workers of the world unite… LOL

    The same strikes will occur anywhere a diverse district tries to ram this down the teachers throats. And the teachers will win.

    Brave New World.

  • Nontcair

    Like I stated in #56, a judge has the power to regulate what occurs in his own courtroom. If you want to exercise your speech rights, then do so where/when it won’t preclude someone else’s constitutional right to a fair trial.

    Look. What are you arguing with me for? You’re never going to convince me that one plus one equals three.

    Wouldn’t you be a lot happier preaching to your Guild that a legal opinion issued by some political appointee from 150 years ago trumps:

    50 state legislatures
    51 constitutions
    535 Members of Congress
    309 million Americans.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Adopted at 3/9/2011 Board meeting was a contract with Community Works, Berkeley, Ca. Ruth Morgan is listed as the owner and as listed on line as a documentary photographer. Community Works address 1605 Bonita Ave., Ca. 94709 on a map is listed in North Berkeley as in the heart of Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.

    The Contract for writing the required report on the Voluntary Resolution Plan (VRP) for Pupil Discipline for submission to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, headed by former Ed West CEO, Russalynn Ali, was a contract for $55,000.00.

    The Board Committee initiating the contract was the Teaching and Learning Committee including Gary Yee, Jumoke Hinton Hodge, and I forget the name of the third Committee member. On 2/28/2011 the Committee sent the contract to the full Board with a favorable recommendation and the item was adopted 3/9/2011 as part of the General Consent Agenda classified as a routine item.

    Discipline is too important a policy item to be framed by a consultant from another city that nobody, that will have to implement the policy, knows.

    Jim Mordecai

  • J.R.

    Restorative justice, community activism and the arts will clean up our streets. Kumbaya, it’s blowing in the wind.

  • PublicSchoolTeacher

    It is depressing to read that most of the discipline problems and disinterest in learning come from black kids. I worry that this creates a stereotype among all black children, even those who focus in class. I agree that strict discipline is necessary to combat this problem. Teachers and administrators have to be consistent with their policies and support one another in implementing the rules. On a personal note, I am both a teacher and parent of black students. When my students act up, I speak to them about appropriate behavior. I don’t relent until they behave properly and the class is under control. We have to be tough, consistent and nurturing in order to achieve an optimal learning environment within our classrooms.

  • J.R.

    PublicSchoolTeacher,
    Kudo’s to all who parent(yes,it’s a verb)a very important and crucial undertaking, those who take responsibility for their children. There are so many who have not lived up to the privilege of procreation. The government cannot take the place of the family unit. Evidence abounds of the devastation wrought when the family unit itself was pummeled on multiple fronts beginning in the sixties.

  • Nextset

    PublicSchoolTeacher: I agree with you mostly but I do accept that people have a right to reject learning and culture.

    The only problem we have is the wrongful behavior of the government in giving those who do reject civilization the benefits of civilization regardless of the recipient having earned them – free medical care, free schooling, free rent, free food, and so forth.

    Welfare and entitlements are the principal reason we are having the problems we are with the urban blacks. We did not have these problems in the mid 20th Century when there was no entitlement to the fruits of other people’s labor.

    This is easy to fix. real easy.

    To a large degree you eliminate forced education, free food, health care and so on. You set terms for those who want to apply and the rest are on their own to live and die as they can. Their children also.

    Half of those in urban high schools do not belong there.

  • Jim Mordecai

    PublicSchoolTeacher:

    I think it is interesting that the language of the VRP agreement refers to the huge distance between Whites and Blacks in terms of suspension as “harsh”.

    Perhaps for the next five years under Federal control the discipline policies of OUSD will be less harsh.

    Bad boy bad boy what are you going to do when they don’t come for you?

    I shouldn’t be silly because the issue of OUSD’s discipline policy and implement in its schools is a complex and very important issue, maybe the most important issue.

    That there is so wide a gap between Blacks and Whites in suspensions is real. But, I believe, it is totally the wrong path to tolerate unacceptable behavior and brand teachers and administrators of disciplining students as by definition discriminating. To tolerate bad student behavior of one, or all groups, is discrimination of low expectation.

    An irony of the comparison of White and Black students by the metric of comparative group suspensions is 7% of the White enrolled OUSD students are not present in the classes and schools that most of the students suspensions are taking place.
    And, in Oakland segregation by school is also segregation by socio-economic class. Hillcrest and Joaquin Miller with large number of White students enrolled are schools under single digit poor students enrolled, whereas over 90% of Oakland Schools have double digit poor students enrolled and the majority of these schools have over 50% enrolled students identified as in poverty as measured by free and reduced lunch standard.

    I believe there is the need to have clear unbiased rules for acceptable and unacceptable classroom behavior and consistent consequences that are enforceable and are seriously enforced by teachers and administrators. I am afraid that the VRP as written will undermine solidarity on enforcement of discipline in OUSD making charter schools apparently a more attractive alternative.

    However, the data on charter schools suspensions will not be available to parents as the focus will be on OUSD suspensions only. Parents will learn of the suspensions in OUSD but not in the 40 charter schools.
    Because the two systems are competing for students a fair competition would require making the Voluntary Resolution Plan include examination of OUSD charter schools suspension of Black enrolled students in comparison to White enrolled students.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    #75 wrote there is the need to have clear unbiased rules for acceptable and unacceptable classroom behavior and consistent consequences that are enforceable and are seriously enforced by teachers and administrators.

    Here we go again: affirmation that government schools should operate in ways prohibited by the same Constitution which institutionalizes those schools to begin with.

    In #58 I asked who are the OUSD “disciplinary authorities” cited in the document and alluded to above. Sure, I’d like to be able to redisplay their (non-teaching role) salaries, but in the broader context under our system of government executive branch agencies are not supposed to:

    #1) set their own rules
    #2) conduct trials
    #3) mete out punishments

    Hasn’t anyone ever heard of “Separation of Powers”?

  • J.R.

    Jim,
    You wrote “whereas over 90% of Oakland Schools have double digit poor students enrolled and the majority of these schools have over 50% enrolled students identified as in poverty as measured by free and reduced lunch standard”.

    the free reduced lunch program is a terrible metric to judge poverty by, there is only a mandated 3% confirmation standard of prospective recipients. The program is full of fraud that will never be verified. The threshold for acceptance is too high among other problems.

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/13752766-418/cps-says-12-principals-abused-free-lunch-program.html

    http://educationnext.org/fraud-in-the-lunchroom/

    There is so much more.

  • Observer

    #75

    What data o. Charter schools will compare white to black suspension rates? Theres only one charter school in Oakland with a significant white population. Well, maybe 2.

    As a parent volunteer at an OUSD school fair I attended years ago prior to kindergarten, “oh, they will never allow charter school for middle class families in Oakland.” I realize now what that was code for.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Observer:

    Be patient the middle class charter schools will be coming to a neighborhood near you because the charter school law is written to support growth of charter schools no matter what class they serve. While it is true that governing board’s must give priority to granting charter petitions for those in poverty areas priority has become meaningless part of chater school law as California no longer has a cap on the growth of charter schools.

    If a charter petion has all the elements required are the pettion can’t be legally turned down by governing boards. Sure, the local school board can say no to a petitioner, then peitioner can go to the county board of education, if the county says no then the State Board of Education can on appeal say yes.

    If all levels of governance were to deny a document with the requirements required by law, I believe a charter petitioner would win in court because the law is written to support growth of charter schools in California. Charter law sas growth of charter schools is the intent of the State Legislature.

    The White student population of OUSD is about 7%. Comparing the total Oakland charter school population of Whites suspended in Oakland charter schools is possible if the data was made available. I don’t know if charter schools have to report their suspensions.

    However, I if charter schools are public schools as their supporters claim, then why wouldn’t they want the information regarding suspensions by charter schools reported to the public?

    I believe that the AIM charter schools standard is not to suspend students; and without the data available I assume that is the true story.

    The AIM method of discipline appears successful in not requiring suspension. Non-conforming students are not suspended but students are reportedly given consequences that motivate parents voluntarily to take their children at of the AIM charter school.

    Reportedly the KIPP charter schools utilize a group shaming to respond to students breaking some of their rules. But, I have no idea if KIPP employees suspensions.

    With about 40 Oakland charter schools disciplinary consequences will vary by charter school. Yet, parents considering sending their child to a charter school may want to know about Oakland charter school suspensions disaggregated by racial group, language group and special education.

    This is the information the Office of Civil Rights is providing to the public but apparently is leaving Oakland’s charter schools behind.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Yazstremski

    Charter schools ARE public schools and under OUSD,they do have to report their “suspensions”. Look it up. I have been at board meetings where 2 or 3 charters have been up for renewal and they have had to provide that data.

    Jim is correct, many of the schools have other ways to discipline students that do not include suspensions, which I would say is an advantage. As for the accusation of “group shaming” at KIPP…if you ask one of their teachers (I did), they call it “positive peer pressure” and “team-building”.

    Tomato, Tomahto…I can hear it now.

  • OUSD Parent

    I posted this on another thread by accident. Sorry for the duplication.

    Is data collected that shows that racism is involved with these suspensions? For example, are hispanic, asian and/or white kids behaving in a way that would warrant a suspension but not receiving one, when the african american kid does get the suspension for the same infraction?

    Are all kids behaving badly and just the african american kids being reprimanded? If this is the case then racism is involved. But if there are more african american kids behaving badly, even though there are fewer of them, how can their suspensions be called racist?

    As a parent with children in OUSD schools I want the administrations to be on top of behavior issues in the classroom. I want kids who are disruptive on a regular basis to be reprimanded. I hear about bad behavior all of the time. It’s a problem and I don’t think enough is being done. I don’t want racist policies in place but I want the problem kids, regardless of their race, to be removed from the classroom so they don’t ruin it for everyone else.

  • Observer

    #81

    I can tell you from our personal experience and that of other parents at our school that it’s just the opposite. The school I am referring to is fairly racially diverse and considered successful.

    What I have seen, time and time again, is the kids that occasionally act out who don’t have on-going behavior issues, are academically sound and have solid families, (ie: the “good” kids) are dealt with severely and quickly. The kids who are repeat offenders? Well, I think once they’ve established themselves as that kid that’s going to be sent to the principals office several times a year, the teachers hold off on doing that. It’s a phenomenon. They could send James to the office 4 times a week or 4 times a month, the amount of disruption is the same. They generally pick that latter and put up with James.

    And, yes, the kids that are the most disruptive are black. Nearly always. The outbursts, the loud talking, interrupting, stealing and bullying consistently comes from the same kids year after year. Not much is done, ultimately. My opinion is that the administration views the families as being unable to do much about it for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are under-estimating the mothers ability to deal? Yes, to a child these kids come from single parent households and the parents are told, the boxes are checked, the admin does what is is supposed to. The more stable kids that get into to trouble? Their families are brought into the picture immediately. My child was attacked by two boys. One of the mothers was called and she addressed the issue immediately and worked with the teacher and her son (and ultimately prevented her child from continuing his friendship with the other boy). The other mother was notified and did nothing, was considered unable to do anything because of her circumstances and her son continues to have behavior problems year after year and some people think it’s kind of funny, like it’s cute. It’s not cute. The boy gets more and more isolated as each year goes by and less and less of the kids play with him because 1. they find themselves getting in trouble and 2. he hurts them. He did have a happy go lucky attitude before, even though he was always in trouble. That’s changing as he enters his double digit years. Too bad because his energy could be redirected, he’s smart and honestly, a lot of the trouble makers are short on plain ol’ love and affection in their lives and you can’t underestimate how far that goes in (though this is rarely discussed here, at board meetings or anywhere when we talk about education. Children thrive when they know they are cared for, period).

    We need IN SCHOOL suspensions. Perhaps a 3 or 4 classrooms down at the old Lakeview building, the new OUSD admin offices could be allocated by Elementary, Middle and High School level for in school suspensions. How about that? Are there civil right violations there? Probably.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BridgetheChasm Charlie at Bridge the Chasm

    This is a lot to read. I agree with On the Fence that suspensions should , if at all possible, be on campus and contiue the teaching process. Having taught in an unruly middle school in Oakladnd, In additon to whatever else is done, we have to nake sure all students learn single digit addition so we have a chance of convincing them they have a brighter future. In the middle school was in, I estimate 25 – 30 % of the students could not add seven plus eight.

  • J.R.

    WOW,
    I thought Jim was great, standing up and addressing the great hoax. This voluntary resolution will just result in teachers ignoring disruption and defiance. The collective community finger of responsibility has been pointed at the teachers(how does that feel)? The teachers have now been labeled as incompetent in classroom management, and culturally insensitive. I told you that this would be nothing more than a deflection of responsibility. Let me ask you people who agree with this resolution, when these kids grow up and look for employment are you going to blame the employer(and prosecute them) for the shortcomings of the applicant? When does personal responsibility become part of the equation?

  • Jim Mordecai

    J.R.

    I was soooooo angry at the fact that misleading statistics were used by OCR and nobody seems to care.

    The history is that the head of OCR Russlynn Ali when she was CEO of Ed Trust West wanted to depict the disparity between hill and flatland Oakland schools and lumped Asians with whites to make the disparity appear greater. Maybe it was reflecting on that statistical trickery that caused me to feel as I did.

    The School Board members and Superintendent Smith kissing up to the OCR bully, that tried to walk softly with the big stick of withdrawing all Federal aid to the District, in its pocket, was also a factor.

    The OCR was about discrimination defined as the disparity between Black and White student suspensions. There narrative didn’t just mention high suspensions for Black students but always placed those high rates in the context of a comparison to White students to “prove” discrimination.

    But, it is a complete statistical distortion if poverty is not factored into the statistics. Comparing not just on the basis of race but also comparing economic lower class defined at school as students receiving free and reduced meals.

    While exception to poverty and discipline/low scores association is Lincoln with its large Asian population, the six and only Oakland majority white schools also have the lowest identified poverty enrolled students. In 2009-10 school year three of these schools had no suspensions and the three others had less than 1%. One OUSD continuation school had 92% suspensions.

    I didn’t get in my two minutes to my question. My question was who picked the 31 or so targeted schools in Phase I and what, if any, criteria were used?

    Jim Mordecai

  • Jeru

    Mordecai- I dont usually see your points, but I just saw the meeting and youre right….OUSD board and staff got served by the federal hustlers.

    All I herad from the speakers was , black kids cant read, understand, and expain rules so they break them.? OCO should be ashamed!

    Its all blame no self reflection and acceptance that blacks are also part of the problem. I hear conspiracy theories about how black meant are being eliminated systematically and I believe it…..BUT we need to really see ho.. They are killing is with excuses, patronage, and favors while immigrant groups whip our tails.

    Fathers aint a home, and women will blame the system…..how do you work with, I dont know

  • J.R.

    Jim and Jeru,
    You know, it’s interesting when Mr. Wright speaks about the rights and privileges supposedly denied the native born African American children. How can a veteran forget that with freedom and liberty come responsibility? I would like to remind Mr.Wright that a government that can and will do everything “FOR” you, can and will do everything it chooses”TO” you. Lastly, education is not a passive endeavor and it takes active participation and hard work from all stakeholders.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Jeru and J.R.:

    My bias, shared by many at the Board meeting last night, is that racism is still an American problem; and therefore I want to support whatever a policy making board, such as the Oakland Board of Education, can do to address racism in all its forms.

    Where I part company with all that spoke on the Voluntary Resolution Plan is that I believe the Federal Government should not be controlling OUSD discipline of Black students for the next five years.

    And, I also was upset because the statistics OCR used to demonstrate discrimination left out the factor of “poverty”; and therefore, the comparison of enrolled Black and White students–the basis for the charge of the District discriminating against its Black students–wasn’t valid. The gross comparison of Black and White students on metric of suspension was not a figure should a similar comparison without factoring in difference in poverty for the two groups. Without valid statistics only bias was the basis for the charge of discrimination by the District. I feel the Feds should have been required to make their case beyond the bias of all the officials involved.

    Fed Bullying is demonstrated when the OCR is making a district an offer that they can’t refuse. First, OCR holds a review and finds what they say is a district’s discriminatory policies and give the district a chance to “voluntarily” submit to what OCR sees as the steps a district needs to take to eliminate disparities in how a district’s Black students are treated. Only there is a subtle shift from a district eliminating something the district is doing to eliminating the differences in outcomes between Black and White students. In Oakland, the OCR outcome becomes the statistical gap between Black and White students that is defined as discrimination. Because the statistic OCR uses doesn’t include the factor of poverty in comparison of Black and White student and a comparison of similar students, the programs created are built on a false assumption.

    The statistical disparity that is defined as discrimination could be closed by the District policy of increasing the suspension of White students. That is almost as crazy as defining discrimination as gap between Black and White suspensions.
    In the context of all the mistreat of Black students in California and the Nation it doesn’t make sense to for the Office of Civil Rights to decide to review policies of Oakland as to whether or not it is complying with Article VI prohibition against discrimination a group such as Black students in a district.

    The representative of OCR said at the meeting that his Office selected Oakland for review because it thought Oakland would be cooperative in bringing about the policy changes in discipline of Black students “it” wanted to see. From that statement It looks like Russlynn Ali and her department are trying to change America’s institutional racism in school districts by working with districts they deem “cooperative”. You might think with such hubris and belief in OCR’s God like powers they could at least get their statistics right.

    Because the next five years of Federal oversight of the District does involved getting additional money, the “Voluntary” Resolution Plan is about how to spend the District’s budget.

    What may happen is that supporters of this approach of kissing up to the Feds will get the District’s current overseer of Black males in the District, who is paid by Foundation money, to land the top administrative job for implementing the 5-year plan. Also, his pay will be shifted from the foundation that is currently providing his pay to the District. And, I will guess, that whatever his salary, he’ll be given a pay raise and additional staff all paid for out of the District budget.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nextset

    Maybe OUSD would have a better grip on things if they took an in your face approach to the Feds that the Black Students (as a group) are prone to indiscipline and require harsher discipline than the other ethnics for valid reasons, including the earlier onset of puberty and the higher rate of female headed households. Stop with the “everybody is equal” nonsense and openly embrace biodiversity.

    OUSD should have accused the Feds of racist behavior in going after the black schools to cripple the kids there with indiscipline – which is what they are doing.

    Brave New World.