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Scolding, threats and security escorts — and it’s only August


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The fall semester is weeks away, but after a brief summer recess, tension came flooding back to the Oakland school board room this week.

I wasn’t at the Wednesday night board meeting when this went down, but it didn’t look pretty from my screen.

One minute Joel Velasquez — a Westlake and former Lakeview parent who has been perhaps the most outspoken and persistent critic of Oakland’s school closures — was at the podium, speaking about working closely with the superintendent and school board and becoming “allies.”

In the next, he was being escorted out of the school board meeting room by Oakland School Police after having threatened to stage protests at board members’ homes.

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How would you rate Oakland’s superintendent, three years in?

OUSD SUPERINTENDENT SMITH
photo by D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group

After three years, Tony Smith can no longer be described as Oakland Unified’s new superintendent. Still, he’s said the systemic changes outlined in OUSD’s strategic plan — approved a year ago — will take several more years to take root.

We have a profile of Smith in the paper today — and we’ve just posted an online poll on his leadership¬†and on his community schools vision that I invite you to take.

What’s the most important thing Smith has done so far? What decision disappointed you the most? If he accomplishes one significant thing in the year ahead, what do you hope it is? What advice would you give him?

Please remember to keep your comments civil, free of name-calling and personal attacks.