This press release was sent to us by staff at Castlemont who are organizing a rally with students to demand the district provide them with equitable resources and a guarantee their school wil not be closed. They are asking for supporters to join them for their rally at 3:30pm tomorrow. More information follows…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—June 5th, 2013
Castlemont High Staff, Teachers, Students Outraged by Neglect and Threats of Closure
School Community Rallies, Demands OUSD Address Inequalities
WHERE: Castlemont High School 8601 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, Ca. 94605
On June 6th, Castlemont Students, teachers, Alumni, parents and community partners will hold a rally and press conference in front of Castlemont High School to bring attention to rampant neglect, dwindling resources, and lack of basic safety. Castlemont High School community members are demanding immediate action from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) as well as guarantees that long-unaddressed neglect faced by the school does not lead to its closure.
“Our school is tired of the dismal support on behalf of the District and we join together to demand accountability from the District to fully serve the needs of our students and school community,” says Candice Valenzuela, a teacher and one of the organizers of Thursday’s rally. “Every child has a right to a quality education and the District cannot continue making Castlemont High School the exemption.”
Throughout the past 3 years, Castlemont has faced the destabilizing effects of the OUSD ‘reassignment’ of three principals, and the consolidation of smaller schools into one large school. The school district recently decided to remove Castlemont’s current principal just one year after he was voted into the position. The decision was made behind closed doors. Community members have been outraged that the principal’s removal was revealed after it was too late for school stakeholders toexercise their district mandated right to weigh in on principal selections.
“Castlemont High School has been set up for failure,” says Marguerite Sheffer, a 4th year Castlemont Teacher. “The issue of inequality is at the forefront of these decisions—whether that be around having to compete with charter schools for funding, basic lack of safety, lack of on-site case managers, or under-resourced programs for special-needs students. These issues disproportionately affect students of color and Castlemont is severely impacted by the racial disparities that exist within OUSD.”
The coalition of teachers, students, parents, staff, community partners, and administrators who are speaking out against conditions at Castlemont liken their fight to the protracted struggles for public education in Chicago in 2012. “We intend to be relentless in our agitation against OUSD policies and mandates that continuously undermine our integrity as an educational institution; dehumanize our students, families, and staff; and violate the rights of our youth to equitable access to fully resourced, effective public schools,” says Michelle Espino, a tenured Castlemont Teacher.
Thursday’s rally will open with a press conference and will feature lively speakers and colorful artwork. Spokespeople will be available for interviews throughout the day.
School districts across the country are so hobbled by the recession that they've increased class sizes, closed buildings and scaled back pre-kindergarten programs. Some have closed for summer a month early.
Despite an economic recovery, the worst days are yet to come, according to a new report.
Unfunded liabilities from teacher pensions have been eating away at school district budgets. And because of the looming retirement of baby boomer teachers, the pension liabilities are projected to grow exponentially, according to a report from the right-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Foundation on Thursday.
The report takes a deep look at three school districts -- Milwaukee, Cleveland and Philadelphia -- and the impa
The nation’s high school graduation rate is approaching 75 percent, its highest rate in 40 years, according to a new report from Education Week. Of course, that good news must be tempered with a sobering statistic – an estimated 1 million students will fail to graduate this year, a loss of 5,500 students for every day on the academic calendar.
The annual Diplomas Count report tracks graduation rates across the country and calculated the national average at 74.7 percent for the class of 2010, the most recent year for which data is available. That’s nearly 8 percentage points higher than the graduation rate for the class of 2000. Vermont had the nation's highest graduation rate at 85 percent with the District of Columbia finishing last at 57 percent.
The nationwide graduation rate calculated by Ed Week is lower than the one released in a January report from
Dear supporters of Classroom Struggle and Public Education in Oakland,
We won $1 million dollars for Adult Ed! This is definitely a partial victory, and we should celebrate this, since it was direct action and leadership on the part of parents and teachers which won it. But we also need to be clear about the limitations of every victory.
Thank you all for coming out on Wednesday, 5/22. We have included a detailed overview of what happened on at the school board meeting, what our victories have been, the limitations of the vote taken on Wednesday, as well as some directions for next steps.
A few key points:
At the May 22nd board meeting parents, teachers and students were united in fighting for a fair contract and against cuts (mainly to adult ed).
The board voted to maintain current funding for adult ed (due in large part to mobilizations by adult ed students and teachers as well as the outcome of
April 4th, 1968 Martin Luther King was shot and killed.
On that night, Robert F Kennedy, New York's senator back then, wanted to deliver the news to the people of Indianapolis, IN
Local police warned him, they won't be able to provide protection if the people wold riot because he was in the heart of the African-American ghetto.
He wrote his notes on his ride and started the speech without any drafts or prewritten words before his assistance would give him their proposed draft.
This speech was delivered on a back of a Flatbed truck.
Although all major cities had riots, Indianapolis remained calm after RFK's speech
63 days after this speech, RFK got assassinated.
I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.
For those of you who are black - considering the evidence evidently is, there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill-be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.
But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond and go beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poem, my favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own de-despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.
We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. And we will-we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.
(Interrupted by applause)
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Thank you very much. (Applause)
Those who have been paying attention know that some years ago Teach for America ceased being an organization providing bright students from good colleges to fill in at schools where there were a lack of certified teachers to being an organization that serves as a way-station on the way to other careers.
What many may not realize is how formalized this has become, not merely with the preferential admission to graduate and professional schools after 2 years of service in TFA, but also a parallel organization, Leadership for Educational Equity, which seeks to place former corps members into positions of influence in politics and policy.
To help understand the scope of this, I strongly recommend that you read Teach For America's Deep Bench fromAmerican Prospect. This piece, by James Cersonsky, from last October, provides a clear and potent description of what the TFA apparatus is seeking.
Here are two key early paragraphs from the article:
Since its founding, TFA has amassed some 28,000 alumni. Two have made Time’s “Most
Who will cure cancer? Who will solve the energy crisis or lead our country in the Oval Office? Every kid should have the chance! Early education, healthy foods and challenging, fun classes are just a few of the ingredients we need so all kids have an opportunity to learn and succeed. Join the Opportunity to Learn Campaign and help ensure every kid has the same chance.
Parents and students in Ohio on Tuesday spoke out against a proposal that would allow creationism to be taught in biology classes.
“It’s not fair that you would teach or have a teacher give their opinion on creationism because it’s such a subjective thing. You can’t give an objective viewpoint on any of them and, ultimately, I don’t feel like any of the people here are prepared or educated enough to give that,” Jacob Crosen told WDTN.
The Springboro Community City School District is considering a so-called “critical thinking” policy that would require teachers to explore “all sides” of controversial issues. The proposed policy change would direct teachers to discuss creation science or intelligent design when teaching about the theory of evolution.
The school board held a meeting on the policy Tuesday night, where concerned community members shared their opinions.
Kelly Kohls, the school board president, told WDTN the policy would encourage honest debates