Education

East Oakland scraper bike program gives kids a chance to safely cycle

Beside bikes dazzling with brightly colored tape and foil, about a dozen East Oakland elementary school children excitedly, in unison, recited their ABCs:   “Air, brakes, chains.”  The kids learned the drill to check bike parts during a new six-week, after-school bike course this fall for children at Brookfield and Madison Park elementary schools. Mentors from The Scraper Team and the nonprofit Higher Ground launched the program to teach kids about bicycle safety and maintenance in a neighborhood that has very…

Reparations task force gets to work closing gaps for Black students in Oakland schools

Black mothers are leading calls for change and reparations in the Oakland Unified School District.  Pecolia Manigo Awobodu, a mother of three in Oakland public schools, said she’s watched her children experience disparities when trying to access resources at school. And she’s heard countless similar stories from other Black mothers in the district.  “I have experienced the pain and the joy of raising Black children in Oakland schools,” said Manigo Awobodu. “I am grounded in that experience in real ways.”…

Mills College students fear loss of safe and ‘sacred’ place in merger with Northeastern.

Mills College junior Faith Thalacker, who identifies as queer, is worried about the school’s announced merger with Northeastern University — especially how the admission of more cisgender men at the historic women’s college may change the dynamic for women on campus.  “Mills feels like a really safe place, and it feels sacred to me,” she said. “I’ve been sexually harassed at other colleges, and I’m able to let go when I’m on campus now. I feel like I’m going to…

Oakland school children must get COVID-19 vaccination, school board mandates

As the clock approached midnight on Wednesday, Oakland Unified School District board directors voted to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students 12 and up.  Directors Sam Davis, Gary Yee, and Cliff Thompson introduced the resolution on Sept. 8, and Wednesday’s discussion about it prompted support and criticism from community members in attendance.  The board voted 5-1-1 in favor of the resolution, though the district won’t strictly enforce it until January. In the next few months, the emphasis will be on educating…

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…