Education

6:41pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Education

Seeking the truth about charter schools

Oakland has become a sort of test kitchen for charter schools. One of the first in the state opened in Oakland in 1993 – and in the past decade or so, the district has gone from having three charters to 33 today. But there are challenges in welcoming charter schools to the city, and it has been a contentious issue in Oakland.

Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, director of the Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships at Mills College, says the controversy is often fueled by misconceptions, like that charter schools are private. Seyer-Ochi spoke with KALW’s Holly Kernan.

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6:16pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Education

Debate program gives voice to students

The Fremont High School debate team.

About a dozen teens at Fremont High School are standing in a circle in their classroom. They are rapidly firing questions at one another so fast they’re almost inaudible. This is Fremont High School’s debate team, in the middle of a cross-examination exercise. When the exercise is over, the team gets down to the real issues.

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5:35pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Education

Getting schooled on innovative teaching

At the end of the school day at Franklin Elementary in East Oakland, second grade teacher Darissa Phipps is trying out new techniques with her class to keep them engaged. Ms. Phipps sits at the head of the class with some handouts, waiting to get the students’ attention.          

“I find the kids charming and entertaining most of the time – and it’s really exciting to see them learn and grow and how they change over the year from the beginning to the end,” says Phipps.

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5:21pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Education

An Oakland charter school tries to avoid teacher burnout

Under CC license from Flickr user Marlith

Samara Shever is a second and third grade “looping" teacher at Learning Without Limits Elementary School. Looping means Shever stays with the same class through their second and third grade years. She's been teaching this way for six years.

“When I started, we had just founded our school as a small public school," says Shever.  "The reason we need a small school is because it allows us to have relationships with our students, and with our families in a way that if there are hundreds and hundreds of kids, you just can’t maintain.”  

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7:27pm

Mon February 4, 2013
Education

A modern approach to an old-school problem, teaching kids math

Screenshot of a Khan Academy lesson on addition. An Oakland charter school is relying on the YouTube lecture series to teach its students math.

California has nearly a 1,000 charter schools, making it the most in the nation. Thirty-five of those are in the Oakland Unified School District. Charter school popularity has spurred education pedagogy research, the documentary Waiting for Superman, and has left lots of people wondering what these independent schools have to offer.

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