Beyond CTE: How Oakland Unified School District Empowers Youth for Life Through the Linked Learning Approach

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March 12, 2019 08:03 am

Oakland, California. The name by itself is so rich in history it exudes feelings of nostalgia or grief—or both. The city housed the late Maya Angelou and the infamous Black Power movement and helped fuel a generation of critical dissenters to the racial and social injustices that plagued America. Like many other American cities, Oakland segregated its populace by placing African Americans into overcrowded public housing units on the city’s west side and whites into government-sponsored suburban developments on the east side. But Oakland is a city that has been raising its voice for generations.

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Linked Learning

Undocumented Young People Pursue the American Dream

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Posted:
March 05, 2018 01:48 pm

DACA

Nancy was born in Italy and brought to the United States at age five. She graduated from high school and received her bachelor’s degree from Towson University. She is one of more than 3 million Dreamers in communities across the country—undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as children. Like Nancy, less than one-quarter of them have been granted deferred action from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) implemented under the Obama Administration in 2012.

Watch Nancy tell her story via the video at the bottom of this post.

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DACA, Undocumented Students

Linked Learning: An Educational Trajectory with National Implications

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February 26, 2016 11:02 am

Linked Learning

Preparing all of California’s students, especially traditionally underserved students, for college and career after high school through multiple pathways became the mission of the James Irvine Foundation and other leaders across the state in 2005. This movement eventually became known as Linked Learning, an approach to high school redesign that encompasses four core elements:

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Every Student Succeeds Act

Linked Learning: The Next Generation High School

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March 17, 2015 02:15 pm

Last fall the Alliance for Excellent Education and several federal policymakers had the good fortune to visit with students, staff, and community members at Monache High School and Harmony Magnet Academy in Porterville, California. Both schools, through the leadership of Porterville Unified School District’s superintendent, Dr. John Snavely, are implementing the Linked Learning approach to prepare students equally for college and a career upon high school graduation. Linked Learning has fundamentally transformed the way the City of Porterville and the surrounding region do business, and the results are compelling. So compelling that a number of districts in Tulare County and neighboring Kings County have joined together to implement Linked Learning broadly across the region. As Congress works to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it would be wise for it to take a few lessons from Porterville and other districts across California that are implementing Linked Learning.

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Linked Learning

Core of the Matter: The Common Core is Not Synonymous with Insanity (#CoreMatters)

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November 04, 2014 10:35 am

Consider the following performances by U.S. twelfth graders on the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card: 93 percent of African American and 88 percent of Latino twelfth-grade students perform at or below basic levels in mathematics, and 84 percent of African American and 77 percent of Latino twelfth graders perform at basic or below-basic in reading. The majority of these students are in the below-basic category. To put it simply, African American and Latino twelfth graders are unable to demonstrate mastery of the requisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for their grade level, and critical to their postsecondary transitions. This is inexcusable for a nation such as ours.

The Common Core State Standards offer a promising remedy to the egregious outcomes referenced above for students of color. However, it is imperative that the implementation of these new standards does not become a missed opportunity for schools that are largely focused on scoring high on state assessments rather than creating opportunities for deeper learning.

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Common Core Equity Series

Transforming the High School Experience through Linked Learning

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October 01, 2013 02:42 pm

Linked Learning

For decades now, disgruntled and dismayed parents, lawmakers, researchers, and the general public have criticized the American public school system for its inability to adequately meet the needs of poor and minority students. Many argue that dismal performance of all students, especially low-income and minority students has become the norm. The data certainly seem to support it: African American and Hispanic students have low K-12 academic achievement, poor four-year high school graduation rates, and very low college completion rates.

In a highly competitive and technology-driven country like the United States, one would think that indicators such as these would set off alarms, resulting in a resurgence of movements comparable to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In a recent interview, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal asserted that this is indeed a civil rights issue, “When it comes to the American dream, I think the next civil rights fight is really about making sure that every child has a great education”.

However, a quick scan of the front pages of any major newspaper immediately dispels this notion.  It is a rare moment when the media provides meaningful and sustained coverage of the challenges confronting our American education system, the children within the system, or what our collective failure to improve the system means for the nation.

Despite this doom and gloom there are some rays of light peeking through the ominous clouds that are transforming the high school experience—at least for students in the Golden State.  Over the last several years the James Irvine Foundation has invested millions into changing the high school experience for California high school students. The Linked Learning initiative, which will grow to serve more than one-third of high school students in California, is an approach to learning that completely transforms students’ educational experience by linking classroom learning to real life outside of the classroom. 

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