Education

Oakland Zoo asks people to drop off ivory, other items made from illegal animal trade

When Ting Ting the sun bear arrived at the Oakland Zoo in 2006, she had a spacious field to explore. But Ting Ting confined herself to a raised wooden plank. Ting Ting, rescued from the illegal wildlife trade where she was sold as a pet, was previously kept in a small cage where she could walk only a few steps back and forth. In her first months at the Oakland Zoo, she maintained the same pacing pattern. The Oakland Zoo…

VIDEO: Teen weightlifting champion from Oakland talks about Olympic dreams

Seth Evans, an Oakland middle-school student, won four gold medals this summer at the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships in Detroit. Oakland North caught up with Seth and his father, Dion, during a weekly training session at SPS Gym in August. Seth talks about competition, his training regimen and his dream of competing in the 2028 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Loss of Dewey bus passes spurs Oakland school district to revamp system

Many students at Dewey Academy can now afford to ride the bus again. However, the future of the bus pass program depends on the Oakland Unified School District’s ability to make sure students who need help paying for transportation are able to get it. During an impassioned school board meeting on May 26, parents and teachers successfully fought to restore funding to cover bus fares for many Dewey Academy students. The majority of students there rely on the crucial passes…

How are Oakland schools responding to Prop. 16 failing?

California voters have decided not to restore affirmative action in schools. Proposition 16, which failed by a margin of 12 percentage points, would have reversed a 1996 ban on considering race, gender or ethnicity in public education systems and public contracting.  State lawmakers—motivated by high-profile racial injustices, such as the police killing of George Floyd—voted to put this proposition on the November ballot. The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) had already begun discussions on how they would take advantage of…

Why did Oakland’s Measure QQ fare so much better than other youth vote propositions in California?

Oakland’s Measure QQ, which allows 16-year-olds to vote in school board elections, became the sole youth vote measure in California to pass in this election, with over 67% of the vote.  San Francisco’s Proposition G—which would have let 16-year-olds vote in all city elections—is projected to fail by a margin of less than two percentage points, as of Friday. California Prop. 18—which would have granted the right to vote to 17-year-olds who would turn 18 by the general election—failed by…

Ballot measure could increase OUSD teacher diversity, draw legal challenges

There is perhaps no more commonly spoken word in Oakland Unified School Board meetings than “equity.” The nebulous term discussed frequently on agenda items ranging from charter school access to climate change. There is an entire office devoted to the subject, with a specified board agenda.  A new proposition on the ballot could help OUSD advance their equity mission by increasing diversity in hiring and contracting. The only problem—critics say these measures may violate federal civil rights laws. Voters will…

Oakland adult literacy students find ways to continue learning during the pandemic

Riley Mitchell loves to cook. When the 55-year-old isn’t bragging about making the “best potato salad this side of the Mississippi,” Mitchell enjoys cozying up with a good book. Since the pandemic, Mitchell started to re-read classics like The Color Purple, mostly for pleasure. But since the library where Mitchell took adult literacy classes closed, being able to revisit some of his favorite books has helped him maintain his hard-won reading skills. “When they first shut it down, I shut…

CA Proposition 15 could bring millions to Oakland Schools, new burdens to businesses, tax assessors

Voters will decide next month whether to approve a ballot measure which could provide a windfall for schools and local governments, but a far greater burden on businesses and tax assessors.  The existing property tax law is governed by a 1978 ballot measure, Proposition 13, which significantly limited state property taxes. But the new measure, California Proposition 15, would modify this law to create a “split-roll,” where commercial businesses worth more than $3 million would be taxed based on their…