Equity is Bi-polar in Alameda


Within the Friday 27 May 2011 Alameda Journal (far from the front page…) was an article by Shelly Meron titled Alameda still fighting ‘achievement gap’ on page A5.  The basis of the article is from various work produced at Education Trust-West, most notably the link above.   I read the article and was not even surprised – in fact it completely met up with what I know of Alameda USD (please see my previous blogs on this  school district) both from being a teacher in AUSD and continuing to be involved in the community.  What SHOCKED me was page A6, far right column of letters to the editor.

Literally and figuratively the letter to the editor by Gloria Lightfoot was on the other side of the page.  It was as if Gloria had never exposed her mind to anything other than what she wishes to see, which is pretty much how most of AUSD operates.   Her final snub to those who take time to vote and support our public schools was a bit more than I could stomach.   Clearly the impoverished part of the community is most likely not to vote, not be able to afford the tax increase (they don’t own property) and the least engaged at the school as noted by information from Education Trust-West.

Once again, Alameda can take pride in its myopic view of things – choosing not to ever see reality.  It is this lack of expansive view which scares me about how AUSD will spend the new parcel tax money. In addition, I continue to wonder  how schools such as Franklin Elementary and Lincoln Middle are allowed to have ‘privately funded’ asset allocation via PTA and it terrifies me that a community which has so much potential is so equity (read color and poverty) blind.

Thank goodness Carrie Hahnel, the director of policy and research at Ed Trust and co-author of the aforementioned study pointed out a way for AUSD to use the data instead of the blather usually found in letters to the editor:

I just hope that this prompts people to ask more questions of their district, and cause people to peel back the layer of the onion a little bit – not just look at the number that rates the district.           If nothing else, we’d be delighted if this is a conversation starter.

Note:  This blog was written months before the article here http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_18805643?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com