I Can't Believe You Commented About the New Mayor's Hairdo

Letters from Our January Issue.


In reference to the recent article about Libby Schaaf’s recent victory in the mayoral race [“Libby Let Down Her Hair, and Then Rolled to Victory”December 2014], I can’t imagine a more condescending headline toward Mayor-elect Schaaf and women in general. The fact that the writer references her hair again as a turning point in her campaign is to me unbelievable. Schaaf ran a good campaign on issues voters cared about, raised a lot of money and had many important endorsements, including Governor Brown’s. Her hairstyle seems to me to only be relevant to people who don’t see women as equal participants with men in the world.

Kathryn Ching, Oakland


For Shame

I am shocked! Your gift guide [“Presents of Mind,”December] sent shoppers to our competitor in SF! Yes, we [Bay Area Bikes], too, will have the Stromer ST2. You also just sent tax dollars OUT of Oakland and into the city that doesn’t need those $$ as much as Oakland does. Not to mention the fact that we had a huge break-in and WE need the business to stay in business in Oakland. Shame on you.

Glenda Barnhart, Oakland


Unsung Heroine

I recently read the article called “Oakland Unity Wins the Numbers Game”[November 2014] by Max Cherney. I am one of the other teachers in the math department, and I found myself very disappointed at the end of the article. I feel that the author missed some very important causes for our success.

The students who achieved the high scores in 2013 and caused our school to be No. 11 in the state were also taught by me. Your author failed to mention that part of our success in math is due to the fact that we give students a math-support class along with their regular math class. As the teacher of that support class, I believe I had a role in helping them on their path to mastery.

I realize Mr. Cherney mentioned “the Math Department”a number of times, but the sub-heading definitely suggests to readers that our grand experiment was solely Peter McIntosh’s idea. This is not the case; it was something that the two of us developed together.

The article suggests that our use of Khan Academy and motivation are leading our students to success. While largely true, it misses a very important fact. About 2/3 of our freshmen take Algebra 1 their 9th-grade year, and the other 1/3 take what we call Algebra A. Along with our introduction of Khan Academy, we also decided to overhaul which classes we gave to students.

We made the conscious decision to begin teaching students at the level they come to us at. Most schools move students directly into Geometry if they’ve taken Algebra 1 in 8th grade. We test them, and place them into classes based on their knowledge. This has most definitely altered our test scores, because we are being very selective about which classes students are placed in, and are making sure they are at the right level.

Kallie Berg, Oakland Unity High

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