Saturday, May 11, 2013

Getting Educated on Public Education

Lately, I've been trying to navigate the public school system. Trying to get a clear idea of how funding works at the state level, the local district level and ultimately at the school level. I'm on a committee (of course I am) to look into this in order to recommend how our school can best partner with the district on who works in our school, how our fundraising dollars can get spent, and how to make sure we stay out of hot water.

Not so easy. First of all, trying to find a clear answer online is near impossible. Everything is slanted politically or is in legalise. I think I'm sort of smart but its over my head. At meetings I've gone to, there seems to be an us vs. them mentality. Who deserves funding more? My kids or yours? Why do we have to choose?

We are not alone, there are other parents in other local schools, other districts across the state, and across the country who are facing the same issues. Here are a few resources I have found so far for California. I'm getting excited about the possibilities:

Starting here, just to understand the current CA Educational funding plan and Jerry Brown's proposal.

 This is a great interview with Educate Our State.

In the same clip, there is also an interview with Michelle Rhee of the controversial StudentsFirst.....and of course, there are many other clips to watch.

I'll admit, I am getting pulled into the weeds on this but I really want to fully understand the education funding issues in Oakland and California. It matters to my kids, as well as everyone else's.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Music Night

Thursday night, I had a ticket to go see Senator Barbara Boxer speak. She was being presented with Emerge CA's 2013 Woman of The Year award. I paid $100 for the ticket.

Instead I went to music night at Thornhill Elementary School to see my second-grader perform with his class. I sat in a packed room with no air flow with lots of other parents, all there to watch their K-2 student sing a song or make music in some way. I was lucky and got a seat, it was 900 degrees in the multipurpose room and what seemed like hours, apparently was only 45 minutes. Even being stuck having to listen to all the kindergarteners, then the 1st graders and finally the second was worth it. Really. Yes, at one point I went into a bit of giggly hysteria brought on by overheating, but overall, I was well behaved and enjoyed watching the little tykes waving to their parents from the big stage.

I could have been rubbing elbows with the who's who of Bay Area politics, I could have made a few contacts to get things done here in Oakland. I may have even gotten my picture taken with Senator Boxer herself. That would have been really cool. Instead, I chose to stay in the heat of Oakland, and be with my kids.

Speaking of music, check out this amazing This American Life episode: Music Lessons