Did you know that OUSD only made small schools in neighbourhoods that they found poor? After they made 40 small schools in poor neighbourhoods they found out that making small schools didn’t improve test scores (Murphy). Life Academy became a small school in 2001 because the district thought that making many small schools was going to increase test scores but unfortunately the whole making a lot of small schools plan didn’t work because they found out that the test scores, and dropout rates didn’t improve and that’s why they made Life Academy into its own school in 2008.

Life Academy became a school in 2001 because of something called the small schools movement. The small schools movement was a movement that happened through 1999 – 2007. The district only closed down the middle and high schools that were on poor neighbourhoods. Then they will build small schools to replace the school that they closed down. The district signed off on the small schools movement because they thought that with smaller schools there will be better test scores ,and decrease the amount of dropout rates change. To prove that point in an article written in 2009 called Oaklands small schools movement, 10 years later by Katy Murphy, Murphy wrote, “But many of its problems — low test scores, high dropout rates, staff turnover — remain.”(Murphy). Now, for that reason the district signed was to bring up test scores but it really didn’t help. 

Secondly, in an interview with Venus Mesui a worker in Life Academy since it was invented told me that the school was part of many small schools in 2001 and in 2008 it moved to its current location because the test scores were not looking good.Venus also talked about how when Life Academy was established there were many schools that were made with it. The real reason why those small schools were being made is because of the small schools movement, the small schools movement was a movement that the district signed off on 1999 which said take out schools in poor neighbourhoods and replace them with many small schools in that location because the district thought that this movement was gonna help test score and decrease dropout rates, it ended in 2007 and that’s how Life Academy was made into its own school, because they saw that it didn’t help with anything (Murphy). Mesui also told me that the other schools that were at Fremont at the time closed down which shows that since the test scores didn’t work the district didn’t want the small schools anymore, which also shows that making small schools was a bad idea.

Some Oaklanders might agree with that it really didn’t improve everything the district wanted to improve. This move also destroyed people’s relationships with friends and teachers. Losing a relationship with a friend sucks because you have been talking to them and learned so much about them. But also some Oaklanders agree because if life was in fremont still the whole environment would have been dangerous because fremont has a lot of fights and that would be awful because people would get hurt. If the person reading this isn’t from Oakland Life Academy is a middle/ High school and Fremont is a High School, the larger school, is considered a very dangerous place because they are always fights over there. The reader might also be thinking isn’t all of Oakland dangerous? The answer to Oaklanders is no it is not, it’s a beautiful city and isn’t always dangerous and not to trash Fremont or anything but that is one of the most dangerous places in Oakland, and it’s a high school, hopefully one can see that if Life Academy was in that location, Fremont would have been bigger and there would have been more fights so it was a idea that they moved Life Academy to the Calvin Simmons location.

In conclusion, Life Academy became a small school because the district thought that making small schools was going to help test scores and reduce dropout rates. If Life Academy was still at Fremont the whole Life Academy community would have been a disaster.  So know in 2020 there’s a budget crisis in Oakland, should OUSD keep small schools open?

 Annotated Bibliography

Gutierrez, Erick Erubiel, and Venus Mesui. “Life Academy Switch Interview.” 5 Dec. 2019.`

In the interview Venus talked about how life academy moved and when it was established. Venus Mesui is a worker at life academy that has been working at Life Academy since it was established.

Murphy, Katy. “Oakland’s Small Schools Movement, 10 Years Later.” East Bay Times, East Bay Times, 15 Aug. 2016, https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2009/05/05/oaklands-small-schools-movement-10-years-later

In the article Katy Murphy talked about the small schools movement and what it was. This is a credible source because she’s an oaklander and she knows what shes talking about and it’s from a website that’s all about Oakland and Bay area.

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8 Comments
  1. Sophia Ornelas 6 months ago

    Dear Erick, I am a student at SJSU assigned to reading your piece. I really feel you put a lot of though and effort into your work. When you said “After they made 40 small schools in poor neighbourhoods they found out that making small schools didn’t improve test scores (Murphy).”, it showed that you did your research on this topic. You also made sure to talk about all views and not just yours. Overall, you did a very great job on this blog post!

  2. Ben 6 months ago

    Erick,
    Great piece. What you said in the first paragraph was surprising to me (about the small and poor area schools). I’ve never heard of anything like this before. I feel like the nicer schools are being made in nice neighbor hoods and old schools aren’t getting the funding they need to stay up to date. This article https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2019/07/11/study-ranks-the-best-neighborhoods-in-san-antonio-for-2019 ranks the schools in San Antonio and the nicer schools seem to be in the nicer areas. I loved this article. Have a good day!

    Ben Yarrish

  3. Erick R 7 months ago

    Dear Erick,
    In the first paragraph, sentence 1 it quotes, “Did you know that OUSD only made small schools in neighbourhoods that they found poor? After they made 40 small schools in poor neighbourhoods they found out that making small schools didn’t improve test scores (Murphy).” That is crazy, because I have not heard anything like that before. Schools being made only in poor neighborhoods? Wow, you learn something new everyday right? In my opinion I feel like schools are only made in rich neighborhoods because they have the funds to build these schools. I loved this article very much and I hope to see more from you soon!

  4. Kristen 7 months ago

    Hi Erick! I loved this post. Previously, I had no knowledge about the small school’s movement. So thank you for bringing this to my attention. You did a number of great things in your argument. Firstly, you provided context to the issue. For example, the issue had to do with the Life Academy, but you considered the larger movement it was apart of, namely, the small school’s movement. In a future post, I think it would be valuable for you to address the historical reasons why Fremont may be considered is a dangerous place. Were there historical inequalities this community faced? I would welcome your feedback on this.

  5. Martha 8 months ago

    Lower test scores maybe was not because of them but if they had electronics in there class electronics would’ve been the distractions and in the article you mentioned “This move also destroyed people’s relationships with friends and teachers. Losing a relationship with a friend sucks because you have been talking to them and learned so much about them.” I believe like this part of the article didn’t relate to it at all.

  6. Douglas 8 months ago

    I feel a little confused when you said “ Losing a relationship with a friend sucks because you have been talking to them and learned so much about them.” Because I don’t know how that correlates to your topic about the history of life academy and the ousd. Could you please explain how this correlates to your point?

  7. Neyzer 9 months ago

    Dear Erick, I feel “pleased” about your post one sentence that stood out to me was that Ousd made small schools and they realized that they weren’t getting the highest test scores that they would or wanted. This stood out to me because it shows how schools have changed a lot and they have gotten very big over the years and test scores have gotten up. However, one thing I disagree with was that there were small schools in poor neighborhoods and test scores were very low because what I think its the education that they were getting in that school that is why they were getting so low test scores. Next time you should look at your research deeper and maybe think about the real problem that maybe the problem is the teachers and how they teach the students and then from there depends on the test scores. Thank you for letting me take a look at your blog post.

    • Author
      Erick 8 months ago

      Thank you so much for reading my blog. I wanted to address what you said when you said that the low test scores were because of the education they are getting. I could agree with you on that but that also elaborates on what I said because The district thought that they just have to make small schools in poor neighbourhoods so they didn’t want to pay a lot for the teachers or supplies because it was on a poor neighbourhood. Look forward to hearing back from you.

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