Saturday, October 16, 2010

Are we allowed to say that our schools are in crisis?

Re: Questions about the school system in Oakland
Posted by: "detta" babel1958
Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:52 am (PDT)

Dear Chris, Kate and list readers,

For the last 10 months I have been listening to our mainstream politicians pretend to talk about our problems. Most of the time they give the kind of "correct image" answers that play down the harsh realities in Oakland. They especially play down the harsh realities that affect our youth of color.

If you want career politicians who will tell you what they think you want to hear, you are well served in this election.

I am less worried about fixing our image problem in Oakland and a lot more worried about fixing our problems.

My opinion is that we have to do better and should not put up with these high school truancy and dropout rates. I also do not feel that what has been done so far is even half way up to the task.

In some ways I am an old fashioned kind of guy. The way I see it we have to face the facts in order to deal with them. The things that are going well are not what needs to be urgently dealt with. The projects and programs that show hope and promise need to be nourished and cultivated like the best plants in a garden. They should not be used as a way to make things look better than they are.

It would be very hard to convince me that the city could not do more to support our youth and families and improve the atmosphere at and around our schools. Add to that the other two crisis hitting our youth, crime and jobs, and I really can not think of what should be more important for a Mayor of Oakland.

We all know that as a Green Party candidate for mayor, the odds are against me. Part of why I do it is to keep talking up the issues that the professional politicians would rather play down.



Re: Questions about the school system in Oakland
Posted by: "Christopher Vernon" vernfam
Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:41 am (PDT)

Hi Don,

Yes, problems abound, many of which originate outside the schools, but it's concerning when a mayoral candidate puts forth what seems to be such a one-sided, unnuanced view of the situation in OUSD (think Jerry Brown?). I think that is part of Kate's point.

I agree that many of the problems you reference and the difficulties in addressing them stem from lack of adequate resources in comparison with the German schools. And, yes, that does give me pause. But, like Kate, I'm pleased that my kids and their friends have largely flourished in OUSD schools and that a number of OUSD schools are functioning well in the face of unbelievable odds.

Chris Vernon
Oakland Tech parent

--- On Wed, 10/13/10, detta wrote:

From: detta
Subject: [oaklandpublicschoolparents] Re: Questions about the school system in Oakland
Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 5:58 AM

Everything I said here was from information provided to me by the Oakland Police, the OUSD or Ms. London.

And I did not mention the killings, such as the killing of one of my friends' son two weeks ago stemming from a school fight, or the fact that in some areas the parents can afford to create opportunities for the students after school and in some areas they can not. Our violent crime rate can be as much as 10 times that of Germany.

Other readers have told me that I did not go far enough.

No this is not part of any campaign, but the contrast between schools in the USA and schools in Germany should give us all pause.

The fact that conditions at many of the jobs available for our youth would be illegal in Germany should also make us reflect.

I have two sons in the public school system, one in Oakland grade school and have a lot of good to say about what we are doing here and the improvements over the past few years. But we should not kid ourselves about how we place on the international scale, we should look at what others have shown to be possible and be able to do as well here. I believe that we can.

Re: Questions about the school system in Oakland
Posted by: "Kate Rix" kathrynerix
Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:21 pm (PDT)
Don Macleay:
What exactly is the point of this?
Your summary of Oakland Public Schools is exaggerated, distorted and inaccurate. Why would you want to give a foreign student, or anyone for that matter, this picture of our city's schools?
Is this actually part of a mayoral campaign?

Kate Rix
Oakland native and parent of two children thriving in Oakland Public Schools

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