Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 25, 2023

Does it advance the plot

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:16 am

Other other day #2 son was a bit later coming home from school (he’s a Freshman at Encinal) and relayed to us that he had been asked by one of the teachers who oversees the tutoring program if he would help an ELD student to understand Romeo and Juliet. I did know that he was actively engaged Romeo and Juliet because one of assignments was to memorize the opening sonnet. I told him he should just set it to the tune of Will Power from Something Rotten since it has iambic pentameter set to music (which is always easier to memorize than just straight lines). But I digress. Anyway, he mentioned that even though this student is not a native English speaker they were also enrolled in a regular English class. Romeo and Juliet is complicated enough for native English speakers and readers so it just feels as though some of our students across the district are not being set up for success.

But across the district we can see that schools with lower numbers of economically disadvantaged students have higher test scores which either means that (1) the schools are doing better at educating economically disadvantaged kids or (2) the lower number of students needing intervention means that teachers can better target struggling students. When divvying up funding folks want to believe it’s number 1 but honestly it’s almost always a factor of #2. We know where students are struggling and we know which students are struggling but when it comes budget time to distribute funds to help struggling students we still divide it equally rather than equitably across elementary school sites. We’re not setting up students at schools with the greatest need up for success.

Anyway, here are the numbers for how economically disadvantaged students doing across Alameda’s elementary schools. Unsurprisingly the schools with the lowest number of unduplicated students don’t always have enough students to show disaggregated data by grade.

Bay Farm:





Maya Lin


Ruby Bridges



  1. Seems there are also other possibilities, like (3) economically disadvantaged kids aren’t a monolith and their characteristics vary across schools contributing to the varied outcomes. One way this could this could be true is if at the schools with higher proportions of economically disadvantaged kids, those kids are disproportionately severely economically disadvantaged, second-language learners, or the like.

    Comment by It could easily be more complicated than that — May 25, 2023 @ 6:34 am

  2. Two points:

    1) English learner students are always given supported access to general education classes as well as their designated EL class. That’s legally mandated. In addition, pairing EL students with non-EL students is considered a good practice, as it empowers both students. Please talk to your son’s teacher if you have concerns or further questions.

    2) Rather than going back and forth about whether or not AUSD is committed to equity and focused on supporting African-American (and other historically marginalized) students, I’d like to suggest people take a few minutes to review our family guide to the Strategic Plan, which we publicized in our newsletter on May 5. That plan is available on our website at:

    We also published an “AUSD Notes” column about it in the Alameda Journal on May 10 (

    The guide clearly delineates both the plans and the *actions already underway* to improve the outcomes and experiences of students that the public education system has for too long underserved. Those actions in some cases involve ending or phasing out programs in order to provide more targeted (and hopefully effective) supports for students who most need them. As I noted the other day, we realize these changes may be unpopular but the foundational goal is to provide more equitable opportunities for all students.

    Comment by Susan Davis (Sr. Manager, Community Affairs, AUSD) — May 25, 2023 @ 10:30 am

    • Thank you Susan for providing the link to the district’s strategic plan.

      This statement from the plan addressed the issue that Lauren brings to light:

      “In order to fund the changes needed to provide an equitable education to students across our sites, AUSD staff have committed to a lengthy and thorough analysis of our budget. The primary goal is to find ways to restructure and reallocate funding to serve the greatest number of students. But staff have also focused, specifically, on supporting students and families who traditionally have benefited from the least resources and experienced the greatest access and opportunity gaps in our system.

      Part of that work has included the identification of structural challenges and long-standing budgetary choices that may need to be adjusted in order to meet our district-wide goals. In other words, we want to have the flexibility to move away from funding choices we have been making because we have always made them if they no longer support our goals.”

      I suppose where there is a disconnect is that some budget decisions have been made to fund initiatives at the district level that are going to support equitable outcomes for students, but the budget information that is being shared in the board meetings regarding per school funding does not appear to be based on numbers of high needs students. Yes, Ruby Bridges is receiving the largest per student LCFF Supplemental but when all the monies in the school budgets are added together it looks more like equality. If this is true then that’s something that should be transparent too. If that’s not true, then it would be helpful to have more information because it isn’t all adding up at the moment.

      Comment by activelyAntiracist — May 25, 2023 @ 12:17 pm

      • Good morning – When you look at all the revenue streams, Ruby Bridges receives more, per student, than other elementary schools. The exception is Paden, where the per-student cost is slightly higher than Ruby’s, due to the fact it’s a small school, so the total fixed costs are divided by fewer students.

        You can see this on slide 20 of Tuesday night’s budget presentation (

        Here’s another way of looking at it. All schools receive a set per-student allocation of “LCFF base” funding from the general “unrestricted” fund. On top of that, certain schools, programs, and student groups receive additional funding via restricted programs (e.g., LCFF supplemental, Title 1 II & III, block and other grants, and various propositions). This information (for 2023-24) is available in the May 9 budget presentation (see slides 19 onwards in the

        Final point: Public school district budgets (and the associated LCAP) are massive financial documents that balance multiple revenue streams with the needs of thousands of students, myriad federal and state mandates, and the district’s goals and priorities. Each annual budget takes a cross-departmental team months to develop and then goes through multiple rounds of review by first the Board of Education and then the County Office of Education. You really do have to look at the totality of revenue streams, mandates, and allocations to understand the whole picture. That’s why I truly recommend taking 20 minutes to watch the videos of the actual budget presentations to get more context and detail.

        Comment by Susan Davis (Sr. Manager, Community Affairs, AUSD) — May 26, 2023 @ 9:34 am

  3. Curious decision to start this play at the end of the year/semester in a freshman English class. And setting aside that your student could be challenged with a more advanced assignment, it isn’t necessarily a good move to assign quicker students to help slower ones, which could be seen as a penalty for being “smart” and often times a student with advance skills intuitively skips steps that language learners still need to take. Let’s hope it’s structured with clear learning goals.

    Comment by Ed U. Cation — May 25, 2023 @ 12:34 pm

    • They’re not in the same class, this was after school tutoring. #2 son volunteers.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 25, 2023 @ 12:44 pm

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