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Tue Jun 19, 2012, 12:55 PM

Parents occupy Oakland school to protest closures

http://peoplesworld.org/parents-occupy-oakland-school-to-protest-closures/



OAKLAND, Calif. - Despite the Oakland Unified School District's order that they leave the premises, parents and teachers occupying Lakeview Elementary School since June 15 say they plan to stay until the district agrees to keep their school and four others open, reversing its decision to close them as of the end of the school year

<snip>

It wants to turn Lakeview, located in a lively business and residential district near scenic Lake Merritt, into administrative offices. Other schools slated for closure are to become charter schools, and one is being leased to neighboring Emeryville. All five schools now serve diverse, largely black and Latino populations.

However, parents maintain that the closings are part of a drive toward privatizing public education not only in Oakland but across the country. They fear overcrowding in new schools, and express concern over difficulties students would face traveling long distances to new schools, since the district doesn't provide transportation.

<snip>

The threatened closures "send a message to kids" from working-class, largely black and Latino areas in east and west Oakland "that they are not important, that they can be separated and dispersed to other schools," said Lakeview teacher Tamica Groves, an Oakland teacher for a decade who has just finished her first year at Lakeview. Groves said children transferred to other schools would face both safety and transportation issues.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Parents occupy Oakland school to protest closures (Original post)
Starry Messenger Jun 2012 OP
Reader Rabbit Jun 2012 #1
mbperrin Jun 2012 #2
Individualism Jun 2012 #3
RandySF Jun 2012 #4
G26 Jun 2012 #5
Starry Messenger Jun 2012 #6
G26 Jun 2012 #7
Starry Messenger Jun 2012 #8
HankyDub Jul 2012 #9
HiPointDem Jul 2012 #10
LWolf Jul 2012 #11

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:27 PM

1. This is what it's going to take.

I wish parents across the country were as militant about their children's education.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:46 PM

2. Nice enough for offices, but not for those pesky kids?

Sounds like a real child-minded board there.

Or not. Sounds more like a group of local business insiders looking for a buck for their associates.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 09:15 AM

3. While Military Industrial Complex gets an increase

 

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:57 PM

4. Interesting.

I looked a the school on greatschools.com and a frequent complaint was the parents were not very involved until it was about to be shut down.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 01:12 PM

5. I live in Oakland and picked up some literature from the protesters on Saturday.

This article mentions that the school district says there are too many schools. This issue has been examined in depth by local media, and it appears to be true. Oakland has significantly fewer kids per school compared to other area school districts. Every school has its own set of administrators and facilities staff, so the result of too many schools is that available revenue is spent on redundant administators, facilities and facilities staff instead of on teachers. So while Oakland has fewer kids per school, it also has lower-paid teachers than other school districts, which means that they have high turnover, especially of good teachers that can find work elsewhere relatively easily once they've learned to teach in Oakland.

The parents may have a valid argument that the wrong schools are being closed, but I don't know enough about that to say. However, the argument that no schools should close doesn't seem to have merit. The problem is that local politicians and school board members are afraid to offend anyone, so instead of consolidating schools in a way that hurts the fewest people, they always back off closures because they find a bit of money and end up extending the problem another year.

Lakeview School by the way, is not in a "working class" area, and is not in East or West Oakland - it is in what's probably the nicest urban part of Oakland. Most single-family homes in the area start around $600K for a small, 100-year-old house, even after losing 25% of their value since the peak of the bubble.

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Response to G26 (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 02:39 PM

6. I used to live on Lake Merritt

There are a ton of working-class apartments and houses around the lower sides of the lake area. The upper part is more gentrified, but some of that is recent.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #6)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 03:51 PM

7. You're right that this is an apartment-rich area.

My wife and I live in an average, 70s-era apartment building with parking, 2 beds/2 baths, less than 2 blocks from the lake in "Adams Point": $1610 per month after 5 years of rent control.

I mentioned this at lunch just now to a co-worker who has a school-age kid, and he says that Oakland has closed schools over the past couple of years, but apparently they can't keep up with competition from private and charter schools.

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Response to G26 (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 04:00 PM

8. I think that is part of the objection to closing the schools.

The consolidations tend to go to charters instead of a public school. I posted this story about AIM charters in Oakland which also have a school around the lake area: http://www.democraticunderground.com/11242386 The owner of the schools made off with 3.8 million. You might have read this story already, sorry if it is a repeat.

It's hard to make the case to parents that you want to close down their school because you don't want to waste money, but then waste money by letting a guy with no oversight for years walk off with money that could have kept your school open.

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Response to G26 (Reply #5)

Wed Jul 4, 2012, 02:42 AM

9. I don't live in Lake Merritt

 

But my lady does. I've seen this school, with the protesters out front. It seems silly to close it, particularly the argument that it's in a nicer area holds no water whatsoever. It's good to have an elementary in a safe area. Granted it's right by 580 and Grand, but it's up on a little hill and away from traffic. As pointed out already, it's not as if it isn't pretty damned close to lots of "working class" areas and there is no reason at all that those parents shouldn't be able to send their kids to school in one of the safest areas of Oakland.

Handing these kids over to charters (half of which are probably located in crappy buildings/areas) is absolutely the wrong way to go. There must be better candidates than this one. The only reason I can conceive of to close it is that the real estate is more attractive to a potential buyer.

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Response to HankyDub (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 07:35 AM

10. and the real estate value is a real factor in some of what's going on in urban districts.

 

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Response to G26 (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 10:29 AM

11. "too many schools"

"significantly fewer kids per school compared to other area school districts"

I would suggest that these are things to celebrate, rather than to "fix."

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