Interview with education reporter and blogger Katy Murphy

27 04 2012

Education reporter and blogger for the Oakland Tribune, Katy Murphy

When and why did you start blogging about education?

I was writing about education for seven years. I started a blog for Oakland schools and thought this was very useful. I feel it’s a better way to inform [the] community. I chose to write a blog to involve the community more.

What do you think of the general society’s perception of urban youth communities such as Oakland? How do you think we as community members can change that?

I’m not sure of [a] perception. [I think] from movies, they think of urban schools as violent, dysfunctional, and chaotic.

Many schools are undergoing changes in the next school year. Fremont Federation is one particular school that is expecting major ones. What is one thing you think the OUSD schools should to improve on to better society’s perception of it?

“Safety concerns.” I think the principles should establish culture [in the schools]. Community involvement for families, policing, discipline. Everyone has to play a part in it.

Why do you think Oakland in general is looked at the way it’s looked at? Many have told me Oakland is such a dangerous city but doesn’t give it the change to show its true beauty

I didn’t realize how great it was until I moved here.

Certain murders happen in certain neighborhoods. About 30 people get murdered in West Oakland, a community of approximately 25,000.

There’s also a history of activism in Oakland (Black Panthers, etc.). Across the country Oakland looked like a threat. [There are] violent protests on the news.  The events are very real.

Murphy explained that she wrote about a shooting at McClymonds High School a few years back. There were three shot and injured. Luckily, no one died. She also explained how events like these can “desensitize the students.”

What misperceptions do you think society has on Oakland?

“I feel like people nationally, they don’t realize how much Oakland has changed. I think a lot of people see Oakland as a b/w city. When its grown much more diverse. [It has] a lot of natural beauty and people don’t see that. People just see one side of it. I think people in the Bay Area don’t see that. A lot of news will show just crime, catastrophe, mayhem.I think some people are just fearful.

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Round of applause for M’Kala Payton

25 04 2012

Media Academy junior M’Kala Payton couldn’t have explained Fremont’s rugged campus any more precisely.

Payton spoke with staff attorney Tara Kini of Public Advocates Inc. about our “jail-looking” school facility. You can view the interview with Kini here.

In my opinion, my peer M’Kala was very spot on about Fremont’s environment. Yes, our portables are decades old and reek of mold and rat infestation. Yes, we don’t have the proper materials. And yes, our high school isn’t as clean as you’d expect a high school campus should be.

But the one thing about us Fremont students, or students of color who attend inner-city schools in general, is that no matter what, we take what we can get. There’s the half of the student body who use the available materials to our advantage, and then there’s the other half who complain about our out-of-date materials and don’t bother picking up a textbook.

The general perception of society on schools like Fremont is “ghetto”, “dangerous”, “chaotic”. What these certain people don’t see is how persistent and how hard working we students are.

Let me just some spotlight on our bright young students who made it on the Honor Roll with a 3.0 above in the fourth marking period.

A few particular students I would like everyone to recognize includes Ariel Martinez, who just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last month. Some students on Media Academy’s honor roll got into schools such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Los Angeles and Yale.

Lastly, the  College Summit program helped many students of Fremont broaden their knowledge about college and assist them with incoming college planning. Thanks to College Summit, a couple friends and I who attended the summer program are now expecting to be attending college at UC Santa Cruz in the fall. Other College Summit participants will be attending the different UCs available in California as well; UC Berkeley, Davis,  and Riverside.

Round of applause for Fremont. Keep up the good work.