Oakland, SF education officials meet with Obama

Three California education officials – including two from the Bay Area – met Monday morning with President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to highlight the need for funding as Congress mulls a new budget and a revamp of the No Child Left Behind law.

Jumoke Hinton HodgeOakland Unified School District board member Jumoke Hinton Hodge, San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza and Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Mike Hanson were among the dozen officials from across the nation who met with Obama and Duncan at the White House.

All were from districts that are part of the Council of the Great City Schools; Hodge chairs the board of that national organization, which represents the needs of urban public schools. School districts eligible for membership must be located in cities with populations over 250,000 and student enrollment over 35,000.

Obama said in the meeting that he’s ready to fight with Republicans for school funding and his education priorities, the Associated Press reported. He hopes that Republican lawmakers focus on educating every child and not shifting money away from needy districts, he said; he’s also calling for a focus on low-performing schools, annual assessments and investments in special education and English-language learners.

If the Republican budget doesn’t reflect those priorities, he said, they will have “a major debate.”

“My hope is that their budget reflects the priorities of educating every child,” he said, according to a pool report from the New York Post’s Geoff Earle. “We are making too much progress here … for us to be going backwards now.”

Obama and Duncan are touting improved high-school graduation rates as evidence that the administration’s policies are working. In California, the high school graduation rates from 2012 to 2013 increased by 2.4 percent overall, including a 2.7 percent increase for Hispanic students and a 2.1 percent increase for African-American students.

Richard CarranzaHinton Hodge is co-founder of the Parent Leadership and Engagement Academy Initiative (PLEA), a community-building project dedicated to the education and support of West Oakland parents and families. She collaborated with California Tomorrow to develop programs aimed at increasing parents’ ability to navigate the public school system; has worked extensively with low-income youth and students identified as severely emotionally disturbed; and she has provided gender-specific services to urban girls.

Carranza has been San Francisco’s schools superintendent since June 2012; earlier, he had been the district’s deputy superintendent of instruction, innovation and social justice at the district since 2009.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Willis James

    “All were from districts that are part of the Council of the Great City Schools; Hodge chairs the board of that national organization, which represents the needs of urban public schools. School districts eligible for membership must be located in cities with populations over 250,000 and student enrollment over 35,000.”

    Oakland’s enrollment in 2013/2014 was only 37,040 and they’ve been losing over 1,000 students every year.
    Looks like in by next year 2015/2016 they won’t reach the 35,000 threshold to be a eligible member in that organization.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    There is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up garbage.—FH LaGuardia

  • JohnW

    I attended a children’s play at a little studio at 35th Ave. and MacArthur over the weekend. Supposed to be one of the more livable areas of the city. But all I saw were boarded up stores, cars parked on front lawns and other signs of decay. So, it’s no wonder they are losing all those students. Good luck Libby Schaaf!

  • Willis James

    I’m actually a little surprised at what you wrote.

    Admitted some stores right at that corner aren’t the best, but I don’t see many boarded up,

    Certainly not at that intersection. In fact, the Farmer Joe’s produce store is very very busy and a fantastic place for produce.

    Puts Safeway’s produce offerings to shame.

    Now, if you were only a few blocks away, below MacArthur, there are some dire areas.

    Right above MacArthur, only a block or two, I am amazed at the rise in housing prices for some really small houses.

    One block over and two blocks up from that intersection, the following house that shows pending, but I know went for over $600,000 and was scooped up 3 days after it was listed.

    1272 sq feet and hardly remodeled or modernized.


    I stay familiar with that area because my father was born there and various family members lived in their old house until we sold it back the mid 70’s. I even lived in the house about 3 blocks up and 2 over, back in college.

    More simply put, above Hwy 580, is good and below Hwy 580 is poor with some exceptions such as Maxwell Park which has gathered lots of Mills College students and staff.

  • JohnW

    Interesting about that house. Yikes!

    We were on MacArthur at Patterson, a few blocks South of 35th. Your characterization of stores (“aren’t the best”) is probably more accurate than my “boarded up” comment. But definitely not Walnut Creekish!

    You are right about “above” and “below” 580. I once met somebody for beignets at the Powderface Cafe at Fruitvale BART — before the Oscar Grant incident made that station famous. I was definitely out of my comfort zone.

  • Elwood

    Oakland has gone to ****. I worked there in the 70s and there wasn’t anyplace I wouldn’t go, day or night.

    No mas!

  • JohnW

    It was really a shame when the Navy left town. I used to love visiting the Bay Area and seeing the fleet. Can’t imagine why they left, given all the unconditional love that they received from local folks!

  • Willis James

    One should not lump all of Oakland into one picture. As I mentioned earlier, above Hwy 580… and along to towards Berkeley, is where over 100,000 residents live and shop. Out of the annual 100+ homicides, normally about 1 each year happens above that freeway line. A rate that is about as safe as a city like Fremont, which very few people consider dangerous.

    I’ve lived in Oakland most of the last 60 years and have never been mugged, robbed, assaulted, or even had my house broken into. I freely walk the neighborhood at night for exercise.

    In fact, my family, from my great grandfather, to my grandparents (4),, to my parents, all lived in Oakland and the same went for them. But as you indicated, you can’t go everywhere at any time of the day.

    However that was true back in the 70’s as well.

    BTW, on a relative basis, over the next 20 years, Oakland will gain acceptance and popularity, as well as prosper, more than any city in the Bay Area.

    Whole new neighborhoods are becoming the “new IN place” to live.

    Lest yo think I am crazy, to to realtor.com and punch in 94609. Places where only 3 to 5 years ago you would have never lived, are now HOT… really HOT, with SF techies flooding over the bridge and driving prices to amazing levels. Shocking!




    Fixer upper, sold in January for just over $850,000 Look at the condition and work needed, yet sold.

    Listed at $599,000 but sold for $250,000 more even with all the work needed to make it liveable.


    So DON’T tell me Oakland has “gone to ***** ”
    You don’t know the new era that is just unfolding in many areas of Oakland.

  • JohnW

    Well, you know, **** is a source a nutrients. Yes, there are numerous indications that some of the insanity on the other side of the Bay is making its way East. If I were younger, I might try to get in on that. But all depends on good governance, which was sorely missing under the past two mayors.

  • Willis James

    This thread has got me going.
    Look at this one. I can assure you that 5 years ago you’d never ever have considered living in this “apt” which is now for sale.
    1 br. 1 bth rm, 550 sq ft.

    $485,000 plus $160/mth for HOA fees, plus property taxes in Oakland, of over $7,000 per year. (1.35% plus fixed assessments of about $800)

    Add it all up.. and that is for 550 sq. ft in a “questionable neighborhood” in transition.

    I want to promote this leap, but it also has me thinking perhaps this is the time to sell, as surely the spike can’t continue too much higher without reality encroaching.

    Lets see.. 2,000 divided by 550, times $485K….
    Yes, if you want my house for $1,763,000, I’m ready to deal.

  • Willis James

    JohnW… just wanted to update you on yet one more Oakland home that I was following…..with eyes open WIDE

    It just closed and you can see the final price and the details, sq ft.. home.. sq ft…lot

    As well as the original listing price of ‘only’ $699


    SF techies are moving over the bridge for the good life. I’m gonna hire one of those dancing “sign guys” to direct them to my house.
    I’d better clean the shower.

  • JohnW

    That’s insane. Must have been the lime green color that drove up the price. Guess I should sell and move to Tupelo.