Education

‘It’s not going to be the same’: For one family, life will get harder when Parker school closes

Azlinah Tambu leaves her studio apartment off 73rd Avenue at 3:50 p.m. With enough time to pick up her younger daughter, Nasira, from after-school care at Parker K-8. She brings a set of keys, her phone and a bag of Cheetos. Before she locks the door, she makes sure she has her keys.  Parker is eight blocks away and less than a 10 minute walk. Along the way, Tambu exchanges hellos with a man sitting outside the corner store whom…

Can California forgive OUSD’s debt?

For nearly 20 years, the Oakland Unified School District has paid the consequences of relying on the state to bail it out of financial trouble.  During that time, it has slashed the budget, cut salaries, laid off staff and closed schools, as it tries to repay a $100 million emergency loan it borrowed in 2003, when the district fell under state receivership. And the cuts keep coming  — with 11 schools set to close, merge or downsize in the next…

OUSD board to appoint Shanthi Gonzales’ replacement

The Oakland Unified School District board announced Wednesday it will appoint a new director for District 6 to replace Shanthi Gonzales, who abruptly resigned last week.  The board faces a tight deadline to find a replacement. If board members either appoint someone or hold a special election before July 1, the Alameda County superintendent of schools will order an election. Because the District 6 school board seat is already going to be up for reelection in November, the school board directors at…

OUSD has had success with small schools, so why are they on the chopping block?

Oakland Unified School District made a decision two decades ago that was intended to make its schools more equitable, improve academic performance and give principals autonomy over their budgets. Following research that showed smaller schools could be tailored to a community’s needs and give kids more individualized attention, OUSD carved up campuses to reduce enrollment to fewer than 500 students in many of its schools. In the 22 years since, much of that plan has unraveled and small schools have…

OUSD teachers get support for strike: “This is what community looks like!”

What started as a one-day teachers strike against school closures turned into a “Day of Action” Friday, as the community joined educators on a march from the Lake Merritt Amphitheater to Oakland City Hall, on foot, bikes, rollerblades and in strollers. Students held picket signs high and chanted: “This is what democracy looks like! This is what community looks like!” Many parents brought their children, using the strike as a teaching lesson in activism, social justice and the right to…

Once a last resort, hunger strikes now used to pressure local officials in Oakland

Hunger striking may be most well known as a political tool used by suffragettes and Irish prisoners, which is why it caught some off-guard recently to see it being used in Oakland to influence a school board decision. Two Oakland Unified School District employees launched a hunger strike in response to proposed school closures in January, signaling that the once drastic measure may change the way communities protest local issues. “Oakland Unified now faces the prospect of many future hunger…

At town hall to keep OUSD schools open, it’s a race against the clock

Around 60 people attended a town hall meeting Monday at Parker K-8 to discuss ways to save that school and six others that the Oakland Unified School District board has decided to close in the next two years.  Most of the parents, teachers and students at the meeting were from Parker, which is set to close at the end of this school year, and  La Escuelita TK-8, which will lose its middle school grades in 2023. A divided school board…

Hundreds rally to pressure OUSD board to reverse vote on school closures

Hundreds of people danced, chanted and marched down International Boulevard on Saturday to protest the Oakland Unified School Board’s decision to close seven schools.  Wearing Black Panther Party symbols and shirts that said “Black Joy,” they rallied to the sounds of Bay Area classics like Mac Dre and E-40. Holding signs that read: “No cuts no closures” and “Hands off our schools,” they marched nearly 40 blocks, from the former Roots International Academy to the International Community School/Think College Now…

OUSD board refuses to postpone school closings, prompting more to join hunger strike

Even after students threatened to join a hunger strike and community members promised backlash, the Oakland Unified School District board voted to proceed with the plan to close seven schools during an emergency meeting Friday night.  “This isn’t going to stop anything, this is the start of it,” said school director Mike Hutchinson, after a motion to postpone the closures for one year failed. “I warned you.” Under the plan, Community Day School and Parker K-8 will close at the…