alternative education

The debate over more charter schools in Oakland

Oct 22, 2014

Betsy Rubio is seven years old, and lives on MacArthur and 77th in the Castlemont neighborhood of East Oakland. But she attends Urban Montessori school, about 30 minutes away by bus. She told me about her first week of second grade. "First we go to morning circle, to figure out some rules. And then something called read aloud, where the teacher reads and we draw."

Researchers from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education spent the last year and a half studying four Bay Area high schools that are using student-centered learning. Their report was released last month, and found the schools outperforming their district counterparts in test scores and graduation rates.

Project-based learning gets kids back on track

Jul 14, 2014

Nearly a dozen teenagers are scattered in small groups across a large classroom at Downtown High School in San Francisco. Some strum on guitars. Others hold hand-written lyric sheets.

This isn’t just a music class. The students are all writing songs inspired by the novel, If He Hollers, Let Him Go by Chester Himes, which deals with class, race and politics in the 1940s.

Rachel Wong

Marin County's One Room Schoolhouse

Jan 29, 2014
Rhian Miller


Leila Day

Not long ago there was a food fight at Ralph Bunche High School. And Angel Hernandez is in trouble. He’s 18, a senior, and he’s not admitting anything happened. He’s slouched in his chair in a circle in a room whose walls are covered with positive messages: ‘Respect,’ ‘Listen,’ ‘Trust.’ His mom, Maria Ramirez, sits at his side. Also in the circle is the cafeteria worker Miss Mina, and she looks pretty ticked off. “Everybody starts throwing stuff,” she says. “I said excuse me, how old are you guys? You guys want to clean up my kitchen?”