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OUSD mends its ways, provides school info

reportcard.jpgIt may have been prompted by the threat of a lawsuit — and then, indeed, a lawsuit — but the Oakland school district has plugged the gaping holes in its state mandated “School Accountability Report Cards.”

Now, you can see how much money each school (including charters) spent per student, how many teachers were teaching out of their areas of expertise, what the safety situation is like, and so on.

Si usted habla espanol, se traduce la informacion. The report cards are translated into other languages, too.

All of this has been required for almost 20 years, but the district acknowledged in a legal settlement signed today that it had failed to provide it all.

The only catch is Continue Reading

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California’s exit exam stays, despite class-action lawsuit

Some high school kids had hoped to eliminate California’s exit exam through a lawsuit filed last year, but it looks as though it’s here to stay. 

State Superintendent Jack O’Connell, a champion of the two-part test, announced today that a settlement has been tentatively approved by a judge: The exit exam stays in place, but those who fail the test are entitled to two years of free academic help from their respective school districts.

The settlement won’t take effect unless the Senate and the governor approve it. The bill is AB 347, and the full text can be found on this site.

The summary of the resolution was pretty vague on what this academic instruction would look like. Students who need exit exam help already can enroll in community college, adult school or for an extra year of high school, so I’m not clear how they will benefit from the legislation. Maybe it’s supposed to provide more of a safety net for them.

I’m guessing that private pre-algebra tutoring at home is not in the works.

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Scott-George case not over yet

Last week, I wrote about a judge’s ruling in favor of Katrina Scott-George, a senior manager who took the Oakland school district to court in a wrongful termination lawsuit.

But Scott-George wrote me last night to report the district has since appealed the decision. The paperwork has yet to be posted on the DomainWeb site, but I’d imagine it would be there soon.

I’m curious to know how much legal cases such as this can cost a school district, so I’ve asked for the current tab, as well as an estimate for the additional expenses of the appeal. I’ll keep you posted.

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Judge: School district wrongfully fired Katrina Scott-George

UPDATE: The ruling was upheld at today’s hearing. 

Judge Frank Roesch issued a tentative ruling today in favor of Katrina Scott-George, who led school reform efforts in Oakland under former schools chiefs Dennis Chaconas and Randolph Ward before she lost her job last fall (Access the case through Domain Web. Case #: RG07325360).

The judge agreed that the district illegally fired Scott-George, which could mean that she wins back her job, as well as back-pay and benefits. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

If the personal and educational implications of this case weren’t so serious, the storyline might be fit for a soap-opera: Continue Reading

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Supreme Court: School districts’ use of race-based placement unlawful

The Supreme Court issued a landmark decision this morning against the voluntary racial integration practices in the Seattle and Jefferson County, Ky. school districts. It could affect the way students across the country, including in Berkeley, are assigned to schools.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court agreed with the plaintiffs — parents who argued that the practice of using race violated their 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

“The school districts have not carried their heavy burden of showing
that the interest they seek to achieve justifies the extreme means
they have chosen — discriminating among individual students based
on race by relying upon racial classifications in making school assignments.”

Continue Reading