Band students at Edna Brewer Middle School at a practice session on a Monday afternoon.

Cal’Vion Evans, an eighth grader at Roots International Academy, begins slowly, tapping the cymbals and toms with two wooden drumsticks. The drum set rests on a mini-stage, a short platform covered by a rug and flanked on either side by guitar stands, each with about 10 guitars leaning in. Cal’Vion speeds up gradually, his head…

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In late February, nine California school districts opted to waive out of the federal performance guideline law No Child Left Behind law established in 2001. Student designed by Márcio Duarte, from The Noun Projet, School House designed by Chris Cole, from The Noun Project and state of California designed by The Noun Project.

In February, the California Office to Reform Education (CORE), a group of nine school superintendents who represent more than a million students from Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Fresno, Sacramento, Santa Ana, Sanger and Clovis, announced that they were seeking waivers from the performance standards outlined under No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

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With the new school year approaching, Oakland North sits down with the newly hired Oakland Education Association (OEA) president, Trish Gorham. In this wide-ranging interview, the new head of the teachers’ union discusses school closures, the small schools movement, inequity among Oakland schools, the Lakeview protest, the challenges facing Oakland’s teachers and much more.

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The Oakland Unified School District’s controversial proposal to close five elementary schools this fall, and more in coming years, follows a multi-year program of encouraging small small schools–subdividing bigger facilities into multiple smaller ones, each with fewer students and a more intimate climate. But funding and enrollment changes have pushed the district to what promises to be an emotional meeting and vote Wednesday night.

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