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Across the United States, a backlash against school closures

Staff Photojournalist
photo by Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group

Oakland, you’re not alone.

I found this story in Education Week about school closures in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. to be incredibly relevant to what I’ve observed here. It raises many of the points and questions that Oakland residents and school officials have been grappling with for years. (This particular story is subscription-only.)

The writer, Jaclyn Zubrzycki, touches on charter schools, gentrification, race, enrollment declines, and the reasons districts close schools: when they have fewer students and/or financial pressures — or in response to the idea (advanced by the federal government in its School Improvement Grant program) of closing schools as a way to create new and better opportunities for students.

Oakland Unified’s own Troy Flint even gets the ending quote, after he’s quoted as saying that all students from closed schools were placed in a higher performing school:

“Ideally, no one would want to go down that path,” said Mr. Flint, the Oakland spokesman, “but sometimes you have to endure some pain as part of a restructuring process to create something better and more sustainable.”

I’m still asking for the school closure analysis; I’m told it will be coming soon.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Nontcair

    bureaucrat Flint said .. sometimes you have to endure some pain as part of a restructuring process to create something better and more sustainable.

    We hear this government line again and again: You have to scramble a few eggs to make an omelette.

    It’s *always* someone else’s eggs.

    For you number-crunchers that’s 3 eggs per serving. Joy of Cooking.

  • Nontcair

    I start believing this “school closure” alarm when the government starts REBATING the money “saved” to taxpayers.

  • http://saveoaklandschools.org Tim Terry

    When the District closed the 5 elementary schools on 900 children, they were told the ensuing chaos would drive families out of Oakland Schools. That is what happened this year when an additional 900 children left the district. That’s millions of dollars in lost ADA – every year! The lost ADA is much more than the savings reaped by closing the schools in these communities. The “pain” we continue to endure in Oakland with these failed policies is unnecessary. Troy Flint is not being truthful when he says the children displaced have gone on to better schools. This was a disaster for these communities and for our district. DO NOT Vote for Board President Jody London come election day.