Education in Oakland

Archive for August, 2007

API Scores Released

Posted by novometro on August 31, 2007

The California Department of Education released Academic Performance Index numbers for 2007 today. Oakland schools were a mixed bag. While 36 percent of OUSD’s schools stayed the same or declined, 39 percent met their targets, and 23 percent improved but still fell short of their targets. American Indian Public Charter School and its new high school posted the best scores in the city with a 950 and a 940 respectively. All of OUSD’s scores can be viewed here. Oakland Tech is the only other school besides Uprep to have an empty line where its API scores should be.


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Uprep Yard Sale

Posted by novometro on August 31, 2007

Under the leadership of Isaac Haqq, University Preparatory Charter Academy allegedly swindled more than $200,000 from taxpayers by filing false attendance data. Who knows how many unpaid bills were left in the school’s accounts payable folder when Oakland Unified School District closed the school in July? According to school district officials, final accounting of the school’s debts is pending. Meantime, Liane Zimny, the school’s last director and OUSD’s former director of charter school oversight, is offering to sell Uprep’s last remaining assets to still functioning charter schools in the market for “textbooks, novels, and other school supplies.”

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OUSD Budget Deficit Worse than Expected

Posted by novometro on August 29, 2007

At least you can’t accuse Kimberly Statham of surrounding herself with advisors who only give her good news. In June, Oakland Unified School District approved a budget for 2007-2008 with a $1.4 million deficit. Those numbers were prepared by Javetta Robinson, the CFO Ms. Statham sacked in July. On Wednesday evening, Ms. Robinson’s replacement will present a revised budget for the coming year that shows a deficit of $4.7 million.

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Don’t Recall Dobby

Posted by novometro on August 28, 2007

Come on now. It looked like L’Affair Dobbins was going to disappear into the annals of the Oakland Unified School District without Christopher Dobbins losing his seat on the governing board. That would have been the reasonable outcome for a series of moonlight encounters that would barely amount to a sexual scandal in modern day Tehran. But now, Chip Johnson at the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that Mr. Dobbins’ constituents launch a recall campaign against the hapless Mr. Dobbins as punishment for courting a 17-year-old freshman at Berkeley, who he met when she served as the school board’s student representative. A recall would be an absurd waste of money, time, and energy.

An investigation conducted by the school board found that Mr. Dobbins and the girl went on dates to places like Strawberry Canyon and the Berkeley Marina. At one point, the pair kissed. When the relationship became public, the Oakland Police Department found that no crime had been committed. The school board, only recently granted a small bit of power from its overlords in Sacramento, voted to censure Mr. Dobbins. For a 35 year-old man, who only months earlier had been sworn into his position surrounded by his family and Mayor Ron Dellums on a stage at the Paramount Theater, it was surely a low moment. We can let it rest there.

The email messages between Mr. Dobbins and the girl reveal that he behaved with much more restraint than she could expect from the goatish professors, lascivious TA’s, and lewd fraternity brothers that we all know populate every university in the world. Indeed, his anguished emails make him sound like the altar boy his lawyer claims him to be.

It’s true. The spectacle is embarrassing for the girl, and the troubled school board lost a little more dignity because of Mr. Dobbins’ immaturity. But unless a crime has been committed, a recall would be an inane distraction from the real crimes committed against Oakland’s young people.

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OUSD Test Scores Released

Posted by novometro on August 15, 2007

Kimberly Statham, OUSD’s state-appointed chief, was scheduled to hold a press conference today about the test scores released this morning by the California Department of Education.

OUSD failed to make progress over last year. A press release called it holding steady.

From the press release:

Statham acknowledged that the scores were not as high as the District expected, but emphasized that educational progress is the result of continuous review and data-based analysis of existing processes to determine where new strategies can be implemented to improve Mathematics and English Language Arts proficiency.

The results for Oakland, which can be found here, show that only 17 percent of high school freshmen are proficient in reading and writing. Of the 1,530 freshmen who took the algebra test, a paltry 60 students scored high enough to be considered proficient. Almost 80 percent scored at “below basic” or “far below basic” levels on the algebra test.

The CDE website lets you control for such factors as race, gender, economic status, and the parental education level.

For example, if you are a fourth grader in an Oakland public school, and one of your parents has a graduate degree, there is a 62 percent chance you scored at the “advanced” level on the English Language Arts portion of the test, and a 59 percent chance you scored at the “advanced” level on math.

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New Oakland Charter School Website

Posted by novometro on August 8, 2007

In late July, David Montes de Oca, the new charter school coordinator for Oakland Unified School District, started a much-needed website that offers information about the city’s turbulent charter school landscape. Managing the “what’s new”feature will be a full-time job. One charter school has just been closed, two more will open in August, and on Wednesday night, district officials will grant a charter to a new high school opening in 2008.

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