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Oakland Is Attempting To Close Schools In Low Income Neighborhoods

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Children who attend school in Oakland have it pretty fuckin’ rough. There’s no doubt about it. The schools in Oakland are notoriously underfunded and dysfunctional. And for many students, especially in low income neighborhoods, school is one of the only places that underprivileged kids are guaranteed a meal. 

So why is OUSD planning to shut down 13 schools in some of Oakland’s most disadvantaged communities? Because like always, our progressive Bay Area is, you know, full of shit. 

OUSD is blaming budget issues caused by COVID-19 for the pending decision to close the schools, and parents are rightfully pissed. I also noticed something interesting about the schools chosen. Almost all of them are in poor neighborhoods with a few exceptions. 

If Oakland can advocate for a waterfront baseball stadium near Jack London Square, something tells me they can advocate for the the city’s fractured school system. 

Here’s the list: 

Prescott Elementary School – This is in West Oakland’s Lower Bottoms district. The Lower Bottoms is a low income, minority-majority neighborhood near West Oakland Bart.

Brookfield Elementary School– This is in Deep East Oakand’s Brookfield Village neighborhood. Deep East Oakland is Oakland’s highest crime subregion and its most neglected. 

Carl Munck Elementary– Located in the hills directly above Deep East Oakland, this school primarily services low income students of color. 

Parker Elementary School – Deep East Oakland. Has been regularly in the news due to multiple shootouts near the playground… Not kidding. 

Grass Valley Elementary School– Hills above the Deep East. Like Carl Munck, mostly serving low income kids. 

La Escuelita Elementary – East Lake, once again, a lot of low income kids go here. 

West Lake Middle School– This is adjacent to Adam’s Point, an upper middle class area near Lake Merritt, so here’s at least one school that isn’t low income. With that being said, none of these schools should close. 

Ralph J. Bunch Academy– High school in West Oakland. Low income. 

Street Academy (who fucking named this?) –  Alternative high school located in Pill Hill. I’m guessing this school serves low income kids because the name suggests a very awkward urban youth outreach attempt.

Rudsdale– Continuation High School in the Deep East. 

Community Day Middle School– Middle School in the hills above East Oakland.

Hillcrest Elementary School – is located in Rockridge, so, wasn’t expecting that since Rockridge is one of Oakland’s wealthiest areas. 

They also want to merge Rise and Highland elementary schools in serving East Oakland.

While I understand that there are financial constraints due to the pandemic, Oakland closing schools would force students into larger classrooms at precisely the same time as students are protesting for social distancing and a return to remote learning comes off as pretty fucking tone deaf. 

If Oakland can advocate for a waterfront baseball stadium near Jack London Square, something tells me they can advocate for the the city’s fractured school system. 

The silver lining is that these schools may not be closed. After the list was leaked by an OUSD teacher fed up with the district, parents have been flooding meetings and demanding the schools stay open.

If Oakland really wants to ever confront its issues with crime and poverty, it needs to prioritize investing in communities most at risk of these societal ills. 

Closing schools is the exact opposite of that. 

It’s the exact opposite of everything Oakland pretends to stand for.

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Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff - Bay Area Memelord

Abraham Woodliff is a San Francisco-based writer, editor and digital content creator known for Bay Area Memes, a local meme page that has amassed nearly 200k followers. His work has appeared in SFGATE, The Bold Italic and of course, His book of short stories, personal essays and poetry entitled Don't Drown on Dry Ground will be available early 2022.

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