Sept. 5: A recent story in the Oakland Tribune examined how the federal "deferred action for childhood arrivals" immigration policy might provide added inspiration to some students to graduate from high school and go to college.
The program, announced in June, offers temporary deportation relief for those brought to the country illegally when they were children as long as they were under 31 on June 15 and have met certain educational (and other) requirements.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, 20 percent of young immigrants won't be able to benefit because they don't have a high school diploma or GED and they're not in school. I wonder if that figure is even higher in Oakland, where the four-year high school graduation rate is only 59 percent.
To help my colleague Matt O'Brien with some of the reporting, I spoke with Vidal Gonzalez, who mentors a mostly Latino group of students from Oakland's Fremont High, and Sandra Muniz, a high school senior who was born in Oakland, but has friends who could benefit from the policy. Both said they felt that the policy would give students more inspiration to succeed, academically.
Sandra's quote didn't make it into the
Do you agree? I know it's early, but have you seen or experienced a difference?
Another colleague, Theresa Harrington, reported a recent spike in GED enrollment in the eastern side of Contra Costa County, which could be related to this policy. Oakland's adult education program has lost most of its funding, but it's still offering some GED courses at McClymonds High School in West Oakland, Dewey Academy near Lake Merritt, Allen Temple in East Oakland and the Unity Council in Fruitvale.
GED orientation sessions, in English and Spanish, will be held at McClymonds High School, starting Sept. 17. You can find the dates and other information at oaceonline.org.
Aug. 31: James Harris, a candidate for the Oakland school board's District 7 seat, faces an eligibility challenge from his opponent, incumbent Alice Spearman. Harris lives in Sheffield Village, an Oakland neighborhood near the San Leandro border. His address is in Oakland City Council District 7, but it's listed in the attendance areas of both Grass Valley Elementary School in Oakland Unified and Roosevelt Elementary School in San Leandro Unified. It's also included in a map of the San Leandro school board's trustee area 2.
Harris said families in his neighborhood have the option of enrolling their children in San Leandro or Oakland schools. At least one of his children is attending Burckhalter Elementary in Oakland this year.
Spearman sought an injunction in court to prevent Harris's name from appearing on the ballot until the matter was resolved, but her petition was denied today by a visiting judge. The judge wrote that even if the evidence conclusively showed that Harris lived in the San Leandro school district, "it is unclear whether the fact would render him legally ineligible to run for Oakland School Board Director for District 7 given the text of the City Charter."
The judge noted that Article 4, Section 404 of the city's charter states that the school district boundaries are the same as the city council district boundaries.
In an email, Harris said afterward: "The judge denied Ms. Spearman's ex parte application to decertify me as a candidate. I look forward to turning our full focus back towards mounting a vigorous campaign."
But Spearman says it's not over. "There's mountains of evidence that he's in the San Leandro Unified School District," she said.
Marc Guillory, the attorney who filed the motion for Spearman, says a hearing has been set for Oct. 3.