This past Saturday, over 100 people gathered outside Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland for a rally in support of a sit-in staged by parents, students, and community members. They’re protesting the district’s decision to close five neighborhood elementary schools.
At 8 o’clock on a Tuesday morning, about 400 students stand at attention. They’re outside the Fruitvale Oakland elementary school, Learning Without Limits (LWL). They recite the following vision statement, as they do every day upon arrival: “We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us as we grow into leaders who are passionate and care about making our world better. We are equipped with skills and knowledge, filled with curiosity and we know that even when we face challenges, we will achieve!”
Youth employment in the United States is the lowest it’s been in 60 years, according to the Pew Research Center. Young people graduating from high school struggle to find jobs, and also face brutal college tuition costs. Educators are struggling to really prepare their students in high school for a career.
According to Forbes Magazine, careers in the healthcare sector are among the top recommended jobs for young people, because they include entry level opportunities and don’t always require a college degree.
This week, the California Department of Education gave us some grim news: according to its biannual report on the financial health of the state’s school systems, nearly one-fifth of school districts in the state face bankruptcy, and that includes six Bay Area districts – four in Santa Clara County and two in San Mateo County.
At Richmond High School during school hours, there is always a police car parked just off the sidewalk that leads to the front doors. Just past the auditorium and administration office, an iron fence stands between visitors and the rest of the school. Many students call it “the prison wall.” This is where more than 1,500 Bay Area teenagers receive their high school education.