Education

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…

Seven OUSD schools to close, one spared; board votes despite pleas from children

After more than three hours of heartfelt pleadings from dozens of people, including more than 70 children, the Oakland school board voted 4-2-1 Tuesday night to close seven schools in the next two years. The issue has pitted the community against the Oakland Unified School District board since it was announced in January that eight schools could close and 15 others could merge as a way to reduce the budget by $50 million. The backlash was swift, unified and emotional….

Parents, students, teachers make final push to keep their schools from closing

The Oakland Unified School District board is expected to vote Tuesday night on a controversial proposal to close or merge up to 15 schools in the next two years to help shrink its budget deficit.  Over the weekend, parents, students, educators and community leaders rallied at campuses at risk of closure in a last-ditch effort to persuade school board members to reconsider the plan. Oakland Unified has experienced enrollment declines and budget shortfalls in recent years. Pressured by the Alameda…

Protesters rally outside OUSD directors’ homes against plan to close schools

A caravan of vehicles that stretched for blocks paraded through the streets of Oakland Thursday evening, honking in solidarity against the Oakland Unified School District’s plan to close eight schools and merge others.  The caravan slowly made its way through the streets, stopping at the home of OUSD Director Sam Davis, where dozens of people, old and young, showed up with handwritten signs and posters that read “No School Closures!” After protesting for an hour, the caravan moved across the city to…