One would ask why Oakland? There are fifty states worth of school districts to look at as a source of information.
Well, let’s take a look.
A parent spoke in front of the school board about the Oakland school district when the board was deciding whether to approve the Performance Management policy. She spoke ardently about how that school district had failed under their policy.
In a post that I had come across last year, I heard the same from Craig Gordon, a teacher in the Oakland public school system:
“I teach in Oakland, CA, a “Broad District” big time. We were taken over by the state in 2003, ostensibly due to fiscal mismanagement and the need for a state line of credit to bail the district out. Since then a string of three state administrators have been sent in, all three graduates of the Broad Center for Management of School Systems. In addition to more than doubling the district’s debt to well over $100 million, the Broadies have aggressively cut site budgets, attacked district unions, multiplied the number of charters, and instituted a market-based model to make each school site run like a private business.
Far from improving the quality of education here, the state administration has played the game of closing “underperforming” schools, opening new ones (often charters) with inadequate resources. Teacher turnover is at an all time high. While Oakland is likely to get local control back in a few months, most of the school board has become thoroughly indoctrinated in the Broad ideology of privatizing public schools.”
High school social studies teacher
And from a newly elected school board member after this series of fiasco’s, Oakland Takes Back Its’ Schools :
July 10, 2009
Last week, six years after the state took over the district, the Oakland School Board regained control of the district’s finances and academic programs. NAM education editor Carolyn Goossen spoke with Jumoke Hinton Hodge, school board member and youth advocate, about the impact this will have on low-income students. Hodge, 45, has worked in youth development and social service fields for more than 20 years. She has been a school board member with the Oakland Unified School District for six months.
“The Oakland School Board has regained control of its schools for the first time in six years. What will the changeover of power mean for the young people who attend Oakland public schools?
On a basic civics lesson level, you are looking at a citizenry that elected representatives, and for six years those representatives weren’t able to set policy or govern. There are a lot of aspiring politicians and activists who looked at this position and said, what’s the point of being a school board member? You can advise and be influential in some ways, but you don’t have real power. Now that we have local control, I feel I can really affect change. I can go in and investigate schools and examine reforms in a new way.”
“How did the state takeover of the school board impact the local community in Oakland?
All these education reforms were happening, like small schools and charter schools, and yet the elected officials couldn’t respond to their constituency in any way. It was a complete outsider making decisions for our community.”
So what are we doing looking at a failed policy to base our Performance Management policy on?
Would it have anything to do with the fact that our superintendent is a Broad graduate?
That the Broad has their finger in just about every pie here in Seattle at this time?
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.