ERIC Number: ED454620
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Failing Grade: Crisis and Reform in the Oakland Unified School District. Briefing.
Coburn, K. Gwynne; Riley, Pamela A.
Oakland Unified School District may embody the failures of public education, which makes it worth examining for causes of failure and for potential reforms. This district has the second highest parental dissatisfaction in the nation, with two-thirds of graduates not able to meet minimum eligibility requirements of the state's colleges. It is also the district known for promoting Ebonics, a street patois raised to a language for classroom instruction. This report traces the causes of its problems to top-heavy bureaucracy, weak and reactionary leadership, union rigidity, shaky fiscal policies, low standards, and an inappropriate curriculum. There were gross inequities in curriculum and resources from school to school. Barriers raised by bureaucracy and union rules made it difficult to hire qualified teachers, while emergency credentials rose from 481 to 825 from March to November in 1999. Also noted was the large number of inexperienced teachers assigned to schools with largely African-American populations. The report concurs with Mayor Brown's Commission on Education. Schools should have a curriculum proven to improve reading ability, administrators should have authority to hire or dismiss staff without regard to seniority, and districts should be free to extend school days, provide Saturday schools, or operate year-round. Also recommended is the development of charter schools and other independent or deregulated schools. (Contains 69 notes.) (RKJ)
Descriptors: Accountability, Black Dialects, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, School District Reorganization, School District Spending, School Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pacific Research Inst. for Public Policy, San Francisco, CA.