Education in Oakland

Archive for June, 2007

Bay Tech Update

Posted by novometro on June 27, 2007

It looks increasingly unlikely Oakland Unified chief Kimberley Statham will follow the advice of her underlings tonight and opt to close Bay Tech charter school. Oscar Yildez, the three-year-old school’s principal, said he has answered OUSD fears that the school is on shaky financial footing. Indeed, on Wednesday morning, the Turkish-born, German-raised, and Russian-educated scientist and educator had the school’s financial documents on his desk for all to see. He said that a nearly $300,000 grant from the California Department of Education should be more than enough to raise poor math scores, which, according to OUSD, ranked as the top reason why the charter school should be closed.

Kirsten Vital, OUSD’s chief of community accountability, made that recommendation despite Bay Tech’s meeting nine out of 11 benchmarks for adequately yearly progress set by the federal No Child Left Behind act. The school is 75 percent black, and 75 percent of the students qualify for a free lunch

Stephanie Ali, president of Bay Tech’s parent club, said that keeping the school open is about giving marginalized students access to education, well-placed contacts, and college.  A school like Bay Tech, she says, is capable of breaking cyclical poverty.

Mr.  Yildez is not worried. With a gesture that he must have learned from his professors at Moscow State, Mr. Yildiz rolls down his lower lip, shrugs his shoulders and says, “This is not the end of the story.” If Ms. Statham does decide to close the school Wednesday night, he will appeal the decision with the County Office of Education. He probably won’t have to.


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Another One Bites the Dust

Posted by novometro on June 25, 2007

Every charter school in Oakland must be living in fear these days. On Wednesday, Kimberley Statham, the state-appointed boss of Oakland Unified, will put another charter school out of business. This school isn’t managed by someone who calls visitors to the campus names. And no one has accused the director of cheating on standardized tests. By the measure of the California Department of Education, the 146 students at Bay Area Technology School are doing OK. At a school where three out of four students qualify for a free lunch, and three out of four are black, poor students and black students performed better on standardized tests in 2006 than their counterparts in traditional Oakland Unified middle schools. Bay Tech opened three years ago and has an Academic Performance Index of 653. But the number of students proficient in math dropped from 20 percent to 16 percent last year (admittedly not good news at a technology school), and OUSD is yanking the charter two years before it comes up for renewal.

OUSD officials also said that the school’s longterm financial position looks dicey, and during a two-day inspection in May of the storefront campus on Telegraph Avenue, “staff observed limited evidence of a clean, healthy learning environment for students.”

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A New Yorker’s View of Oakland

Posted by novometro on June 23, 2007

The Wall Street Journal writes Friday about OUSD’s outgoing finance director, who is taking a job at Yahoo. And the New York Times has a strange piece about last year’s murder rate in Oakland. The article seemed like it wanted to say something more compelling about the fact that the majority of the murders in Oakland last year were blacks killing blacks, but backed away from making that the main point of the article.

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The LA Times on Test Score Study

Posted by novometro on June 6, 2007

The Los Angeles Times reports Wednesday that proficiency for fourth graders rose between 2004 and 2006, but that the achievement gap separating races and income groups remained the same.

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The East Bay Express on AIPCS

Posted by novometro on June 6, 2007

The East Bay Express writes Wednesday about an OUSD investigation into Ben Chavis and American Indian Public Charter School. OUSD has been collecting complaints about Mr. Chavis for a couple of years, but the school’s ignoring a district request for information about a complaint followed by a complaint from an angry Mills prof and her students prompted an OUSD investigation on May 22.

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