A fond farewell

Reporters change beats all the time. We’re not in the habit of telling our readers goodbye unless we’re leaving the paper, and maybe not even then.

But given all the time we’ve spent together on this forum – me writing about Oakland school news and you telling me what I missed and what I should look into (or debating something different altogether) – this feels different.

I’m going to be covering colleges and universities for the Tribune and its sister papers now, working mostly out of a newsroom in Hayward with other East Bay reporters who cover issues for the whole news group. I’m excited about the challenge. Who knows, I could end up writing about students I met when they were angsty teens, haunting the hallways of McClymonds High or Oakland Tech — or returning to those high schools to write stories about college.

I hope you stay in touch and send me your story ideas.

I’ve known about this for awhile, but have waited to tell you until I knew who would be replacing me. I’m afraid I don’t have an easy answer. The newspaper has been trying to fill the position, but so far has been unable to do so.

After all of the time we’ve all spent on this blog, I’m hoping it can survive until someone can take it on on a more regular basis. Another metro reporter plans to attend school board meetings and post occasionally. Maybe, if any of you are inspired, you could contribute.

This is hard for me to tell you; I know how important schools coverage is, especially to Oaklanders. My editor has set up an email for news tips and blog submissions: oaklandschools@bayareanewsgroup.com.

If you are interested in posting regularly, please let us know.

Thanks for reading, and for making the blog so lively and interesting. I’ll miss answering your questions, absorbing your insights and reflections, and, most of all, imploring you and “Nextset” to be civil to one another.

Katy Murphy

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

  • jesse james

    You will be sorely missed…this is another tragedy for Oakland Public Schools. I’ve felt so much better knowing that you were there keeping track of things. I hope this is a promotion and I wish you well!

  • Katy Murphy

    Thanks so much for your message, jesse james. I’ll miss you all too.

  • Alice Spearman

    Oh Katy,
    I guess it is congratulations on your new assignment, but I truly will miss you reporting on education. You kept all the important issues in the forefront. Over the years reading the trib regarding educational issues, you have been the best reporter adssigned, and I have followed many, back to Johnathan Schoor.
    You will be missed. I am wishing you success and happiness.

  • http://www.movingforwardedu.com Lacy Asbill

    Thank you, Katy, for your service on the K-12 school beat. You’ve not only kept us informed about our schools, you’ve also provided us a forum for ongoing discussion and debate. Please know that your work has been appreciated!

  • Doug Appel

    Hey Katy
    I didn’t know you long but have found you to be about the best local education reporter I’ve encountered in my 21 years in public ed. You will be missed. Best of luck!

  • Mike Sterba

    I wish you the best, but this is a big loss for us, Katy!

    I’m not sure where to turn now for objective information about OUSD.

  • Observer

    Oh no! I mean, “Congratulations!”. I do mean that, you are young and talented and it’s great that you expanding horizons in your career .

    But this town, this district really needs the transparency that you provided. Someone must fill these shoes!

  • Trish Gorham


    Your steady, lucid reporting on the issues facing Oakland’s schools was always a standout. You were the glue which held a diverse and raucous community together going beyond mere reporting, becoming an invaluable service to and forum for Oakland citizens.

    On behalf of the members of the Oakland Education Association, please accept our gratitude for a job well done and well wishes for your future.

  • teacher

    They must be doing a dance of joy at the euphemistic 2nd ave.

    Katy, you have done an amazing job of unbiased reporting that brought many issues to light of day, and will be sorely missed by teachers and the community. You did so much more than education reporting; you helped to create a culture of openness and dialogue on K-12 education issues, which in many cases resulted in positive change.

    Best of luck to you! Your new position and situation sound perfect for you.

    Has anyone asked Sharon Higgins if she would consider taking on the blog?

  • Sharon

    Katy: Thanks so much for your work with covering our local education issues, especially for sticking with this assignment for such a long time. Turnover of good staff is always hard on the communities they serve, but I’m grateful that you’ve been willing and able to do it (in this case) for a totally reasonable amount of time. Best wishes to you with your new assignment, as well as with every other aspect of your journey in life. — Sharon

  • J.R.

    This is going to be strange. Good luck Katy, you’ll be missed.

  • Jessica Stewart

    Katy – I saw this blog today just as a meeting was starting, and I have to admit that it kept me from fully engaging throughout the meeting. It’s hard to imagine Oakland education reporting without you!

    Here’s hoping your replacement is half as informed, thoughtful, tenacious, and smart as you. We’ll really miss you.

    Let us know how we can help the new reporter get up to speed on the Oakland ed landscape.

  • On the Fence


    Good luck to you! You’ll be missed. This forum has played an important role in the community, and has fostered vital discourse that I have not found elsewhere. Without this blog, i greatly fear that OUSD will have no checks or balance on the very skewed policies and erroneous data that they cook up down on 2nd Ave.

  • Luis Mota


    Thank you for all your hard work.
    Who would let people know about the $7.6 million that Smith and friends miscalculated while budgeting for 2012-13 this past week? As a reward, they might even get themselves a new central office building!
    In any case, best luck to you.

  • Let’s Get Real

    Best of luck to you, Katy, although I’ll really miss your blog. In addition to your timely reporting on district issues, you provided a much appreciated forum for those of us who care about Oakland students to share our thoughts and suggestions. I hope someone can pick up the mantle, but it will be very hard to fill your shoes.

  • Maureen Whalen


    Congratulations and thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in to keep us informed. I have been a teacher in Oakland for the past 5 years and your blog truly has been a lifeline for me to know what is going on in the district. You have done an amazing job and will be sorely missed.

    The best of luck to you in your new gig.

  • http://ousdblog mark

    Thank you Katy for your professional reporting skills. You never write in a petty way and always stand above the argument, looking down to report on things in a kind friendly manner. I believe you preformed a valuable community service, and by doing so, helped a great deal of students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

    This is the way with reporters, less money, less newspapers, quick shortened bursts of one paragraph to convert to the on line media format.

    Thank you for being loyal to staying and doing your job for so many years. Maybe you could consider posting one item each month. Only one item. This way, the blog will continue. We as readers know that a compromise will need to be made with the costs of reporters and the revenue. Also, Maybe your newspaper could try to put in some kind of sales media on your blog which could promote some businesses in Oakland. Maybe that revenue would help keep your blog alive better.

    take care,

    and thank you for the OUSD blog.

  • http://ousdblog mark

    I wanted to offer one more idea for you Katy.

    Have you ever thought of transitioning your blog over to a non profit called “Youth Radio,” which I believe hires students to write articles etc. Your blog could be given to them with the title “The Educational Report” and all your stories could be kept in archives. You could put some kind of disclaimer that you are not responsible for any content, but leave the door open that in the future you could return to post an article etc. The new blog would be run by the non profit with articles reviewed, and maybe the middle school and high school students could learn how to post things that help keep the community of Oakland informed on educational issues. They are our future.

    How about giving that idea some thought Katy, if the newspaper has trouble finding a replacement for you over a long period of time.

    Just an idea.

  • Nextset

    These assignment changes happen. I hope you have as much fun on the next one as I believe you have on this one.

    The College beat is even more colorful than the secondary schools. There is far more adult drama going on. With the added issues of earning power going up and down, entry into the workplace, students finances (and their impact on family formation and quality of life), and my favorite, the racial issues!

    Actually it’s the same issues as before just at end stage level.

    You can have a lot of fun with it.

    If PC will allow it!

    Will you start a colleges blog? It would be illuminating. I rather suspect through these blogs you see issues and explanations you might not reach so easily.

  • Calimama

    Oh, Katy, this is a sad day for most of Oakland! I’ve been reading for years, though rarely commenting, and I will miss you! Wishing you the very best in your new endeavor, and hoping your shoes can be filled!

    Mom to 3 in OUSD

  • Jim Mordecai


    Oakland public school coverage has two strikes against it with you moving away from K-12 coverage and understandably closing down this blog.
    My fear is that now with you leaving the post Katy era will mean press releases by Troy Flint will be the first and last word on the Oakland Unified School District.
    You have made yourself in the role of Oakland Public Schools reporter irreplaceable. I suspect that the economics of the newspaper business means there will be no attempt to replace the in depth coverage you have provided.
    Goodbye. But, I am jealous that your new targeted audience will receive the high quality of professional journalism you provided. And, I will very much miss no longer seeing you seated at Oakland School Board meetings with your lap-top in your lap.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Kim Shipp


    I want to personally say thank you for your many years of service covering Oakland School News. In addition you provided me and my family great opportunities to be heard and contribute to educational issues. I remember when you did a story that ran in the tribune when I travel to Washington DC to be part of a panel on Supplemental Education Services (SES) at the US Department of Education. You also encouraged me to have my son write about his experience in private school and the differences in public school, along withcovering several other topics. We’ve had countless conversations at board meetings over these past several years. I appreciate all of your hard work and will truly miss you. Good luck in your new position and may God truly bless you.


  • Katy Murphy

    You guys are making me all teary eyed — that’s no way for a reporter to behave!

    I truly appreciate your kind words and your suggestions for carrying the blog forward during this (hopefully brief) period of flux.

  • Yasmin Anwar

    The Education Report is, without doubt, the best thing The Oakland Tribune has going for it, and your hard-earned perspective (not to mention clear, timely and gutsy reporting) is what makes it so credible and readable. Your promotion to higher ed (congrats!) and departure from K-12 reporting will likely result in less accountability and transparency at the OUSD. Please persuade your paper to hire a smart reporter to cover the Oakland schools and keep the Education Report alive.
    Yasmin Anwar

  • OaklandTeacher

    THANK YOU for all you did for the community.

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


    I want to add my voice to the others. It is indeed a sad day for the Oakland Public Schools.

    You epitomize what a reporter should be.

    Best wishes,

    Charlie Stimson

  • Lisa Shafer

    As a former education reporter and a current OUSD teacher, I feel authorized to give you an A+ for your body of work on the K-12 beat.

    Thank you, Katy!

    Lisa Shafer
    Fremont High journalism teacher
    Oaktown Teen Times managing editor

  • Oakland Princip


    Thank you for bringing light to educational issues. Good Luck!

  • Anonymous

    Heard about the $7.6M budget discrepancy and told my friend, “Oh, I’ll check Katy Murphy’s blog. I know she’ll have the scoop.”

    Wishing you nothing but the best in all of your endeavors.

    Peace and Blessings :)

  • makeitgoaway

    Hey Katy- you will be missed. Thank you for all the terrific coverage and your objective and informative approach. I always felt this was a labor of love for you. The number of informed (and opinionated) bloggers made your blog an interesting read.

    Start a blog for colleges! The best current online magazine and blog of college and university issues is the Chronicle of Higher Education. Here is the link.


  • Juanstaer

    Bye! Don’t forget to write!

  • A coding error

    Best of luck, much deserved for you!
    Certainly Smith will have slept tighter the last couple of days, since now we will only be fed the information that comes through Flint. Actually, too bad for some admin and teachers who actually got to know what was going on next door through you, not them. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has lobbied for this to happen… so that he is allowed to “weather the storm” information-free and take his people across the Red Sea!

  • Debora


    Thank you for all of the thought-provoking issues brought to our attention, from the needs of students in Special Education to Gifted and Talented to schools without the basics of running toilets and peeling paint.

    Thank you for helping us understand the workings of the school board and school administration in a way that we could if we had time to analyze all of the documents available.

    Thank you for listening to us, and allowing us a voice while working to keep the conversations productive and thought-provoking.

    Most of all thank you for taking the time to cover a topic in which we as a city have neglected for many decades in ways that have caused over 50% of our students who begin kindergarten to fail to graduate high school; a city which has students murdered in front of schools, not by one crazed, former bullied student, but by the parade of children in our city who feel unloved, unwanted, uncared for, unmotivated, and unschooled.

    You have brought issues to the forefront and made us stand up to say this is where we live; these are our city’s children; these are the students who attend school with my daughter or my son.

    You are an excellent reporter, a good person and a valuable employee for your organization. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. I wish you all of the best of everything.

  • Leo

    Hi Katy,
    I add my thanks. You have been, as others have noted, a source of objectivity and balance. In your pursuit of truth and in your forthright sharing of what you discover, you have been a source of hope that all can be right and this broken system can be fixed. You will be sorely missed. Best of luck on what’s next.

  • Karen Fee

    Thank you for your significant contribution to the Oakland school landscape. You will certainly be missed. Best of luck and congratulations on your next adventure!

    Karen Fee

  • Allison Rodman

    Oh my! Of course I am happy for you but this is a huge loss for our community. But, I am sitting here a little breathless. You have been so very important in helping us adults talk to each other in a civil manner.
    So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your service to our community and the children who are so vulnerable and in too many cases not getting what they need because “the parents are fighting”. Your writing, your place at the table, your attendance at meeting after meeting always gave me renewed strength to stay in the struggle to make OUSD a better institution.
    You care about the kids of Oakland– all the kids.
    I am so grateful — good luck!

  • Steven Weinberg

    Hi Katy,
    Your reporting over the years has been so valuable for all of us connected to the Oakland Public Schools. You will be missed. The Tribune also deserves credit for its commitment over the past years to covering the school district so extensively. I hope it will continue to do so.
    Best wishes in the your new job.

  • T.J.

    Dear Katy,

    I’ve been so preoccupied with getting my own daughter off to college, I missed your own “graduation,” to college, so to speak. All the best to you, we’ll sorely miss your expert reporting.


  • Director

    Thanks for the great work covering Oakland,and specifically OUSD these past few years. Those are some mighty big shoes to fill, and we’ll all feel the void in knowing what’s going on within the District. Hopefully the editors see the value in keeping our local community advised on the school system.

  • Rumor Has It

    Can’t ya just do one last posting for old times’ sake? I’m dying to know what everyone thinks, knows and anticipates with the 7.6 million dollar budget snafu!!! Please, I’m missing you already!

  • OUSD educator and parent

    But, but, how are we going to know what’s going on? I’m bereft and confused and this just can’t be! I need you – I don’t know how I’ll do my work (in OUSD) without getting news from you. So sad.

  • Juanster

    To OUSD Educator And Parent(who is)”bereft and confused and (says) this just can’t be! I need you (Katy M) – I don’t know how I’ll do my work (in OUSD) without getting news from you. So sad.”

    There there, it’ll be OK. Toddle over for a hug and a wee burp. Katy’s gone to a better place sweetie. She’s now completed her K-12 work and it’s now time for her to move on to college level work. You wouldn’t want to hold our Katy back now would you? Anyway, Obama says EVERYONE needs to have a college experience.

    If you really ‘don’t know how you’ll do your work’ without Katy Murphy, perhaps you should just stay home? It’ll be less dangerous for you, depending on where you live. It would also provide you an opportunity to home school your kiddies, enabling them to escape the mental handicapping of a public school education.

    Here’s to a Brave New You!

  • A coding error

    How insensitive of Smith, Flint and friends not to at least pretend and write a good bye message. After so many hours of edge-of-the-chair entertainment for them reading this blog… “will they get to know about our latest mess?” “Did we cover up enough?” “Will they get a nice picture of me? Gosh…”
    I hope the editor sees value in continuing this blog. For sure you have news in the making…

  • https://www.facebook.com/#!/timothy.terry.397 Tim Terry

    Good Luck Katy Murphy with your new assignment, and thanks for everything – job well done!

    Someone is pulling the plug just when things were going to start getting interesting around here with regards to the missing $7 million dollars and the forthcoming State Audit, etc. For me there is now no good reason to visit Inside Bay Area/Contra Costa Times.

    Somehow we need (and will) fill this void for a community discussion space on issues with regard to K-12 education in Oakland. Our school board is far too controversial. Fed and State policies need to be discussed this year as well. Our democracy hangs in the balance.

    In the past we had a vibrant union that was able to air many of these issues. That is no more. At some point we need to start rebuilding our Teachers Union.

    In the meantime I am new to Facebook and find it easy to communicate within networks. Unfortunately, as a community member I am not privy to the teacher parent discussion group. Take care everyone!

  • Stacey Smith

    THANK YOU to you and to your editors for creating the space for this blog, for covering the stories that you have, and for allowing guest bloggers like me to add to the mix now and again. I look forward to following your college reporting! AND I hope your editors will continue to find a way maintain this space for K-12 coverage as we move into the future…

  • dan cohen

    thank you for all of your hard work and great inquisitive mind. you will be missed on the OUSD beat.

  • Patricia Jensen

    Thank you so much for your years of service to our community and our schools. You covered educational issues with honesty, insight and fairness and created an open place for discussion. How many times have we all said to each other, “Check Katy’s blog.” :) We will miss you!
    Best wishes on your new assignment,

  • Juanster

    I don’t know about you Patrica, but I like the upgrade to a ‘wise Latina!’ I’m sure no one here could openly disagree with this positively ‘correct’ feeling. Bienvenido Serena!