A protester demonstrating against school closures is taken into custody by Oakland School Police. Photo by Michelle Pitcher.

For the last three Oakland school board meetings, protesters from the newly-formed Oakland Is Not for Sale Coalition have tried to prevent the meetings from taking place, chanting, raising banners and attempting to take over the stage where board members are seated in order to hold what they call a “people’s board meeting.” The group…

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Teachers picket outside the scheduled Oakland school board meeting on Friday. Photo by Wyatt Kroopf.

On Friday afternoon, just as Oakland’s school board meeting was supposed to start, a union representative wearing red–the symbol of the “Red for Ed” movement that has galvanized teachers’ strikes across the nation–stepped in front of the crowd and announced that teachers and school officials had reached a tentative four-year agreement. If ratified, it will…

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Parents drop off their kids to Piedmont Elementary in Oakland during the first week of school.

Zarina Ahmad, principal of Piedmont Avenue Elementary in Oakland, put extra effort this year into creating a bright first day of school. She and her staff pasted a class list to the outside wall, with a photo of each teacher. Big orange cones separated children by their grades. Teachers ran a short pep rally, called the “Line Up to Learn.” Uniformed Oakland firemen welcomed kids into the school.

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Canopies were up for The People’s School For Public Education on Tuesday at Splash Pad Park, where protesters who had previously been camping at Lakeview Elementary School have relocated the volunteer-run summer program to teach kids about social justice issues. Protesters are saying that Thursday will be the last time the People’s School will be held at Splash Pad Park before they choose another location.

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The idea behind the concept of “mutual matching” is to find the best fit between a teacher and the school community in which they work. That concept is on the bargaining table now in discussions between the officials from the Oakland Unified School District and Oakland Education Association, as they discuss a proposal that would change the way teachers are assigned to schools in the district.

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This week, OUSD officials are hosting community input meetings on boundary changes that are scheduled to go on until Wednesday. The boundary changes come after the OUSD school board voted in October to close five schools — Marshall, Lakeview, Lazear, Maxwell Park, and Santa Fe. OUSD officials now have to restructure attendance boundary areas for families who live near the schools slated for closure.

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A month after the Oakland Unified School District board voted to close five elementary schools, members voted Wednesday night to allow Life Academy, a small health and sciences high school in East Oakland, to expand to offer middle school classes as well. At a packed meeting that mostly focused on the district’s financial issues, board members also discussed the most recent state audit as well as a report on teacher and staff retention.

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