Oakland and Berkeley Public Schools - need advice!

Hi Parents! 

My husband, baby (8 months!) and I currently live in Oakland. We are committed to public schools and have a plan to move by the time he's old enough to go to Kindergarten.  I would love advice on the pros and cons of both the Oakland and Berkeley public school systems.  We would want our next home to be someplace we could stay through K-12, so just as interested in hearing about middle and high schools, as well as great elementary schools in the area. 

Thank you so much! 

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Piedmont, Berkeley, Albany, Alameda, and Castro Valley all have better overall public school systems (K - 12) than Oakland on this side of the tunnel. If you are willing to go through the tunnel, then Lamorinda area, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Danville all have great public school systems.  Oakland has a handful of great schools but you will need to select where you live very carefully. I think there is a small portion of Rockridge area where you are zoned for Hilcrest for lower grades and Oakland Tech for high school. We live in Oakland in an area with a good elementary school and Oakland Tech (the most popular high school) but our middle school is weak, and we intend to choose private school for middle school.

You've got a few years yet. Any school is good if parents are involved and participate with their community.

Recent threads have discussed how Oakland schools are merging for budgetary and shrinking attendance reasons.  This phenomenon is happening throughout the Bay Area and is most evident in larger school districts.  Try to keep an open mind.  Smaller school districts such as Piedmont are being financially bailed out by parents and the local community.  My advice would be to find neighborhoods where the majority of the kids actually attend their local area attendance school.  This will create many more opportunities for friendships (and mischief-making).  A supportive community is involved and will help a school to survive and thrive.

I would steer clear of Oakland schools.  There's a lot of baggage in the Oakland Schools. Parents with different priorities and visions on how the schools should be run.  One of the high schools has in 12 years when through 20 principals. This is not to say there are not good nice caring teachers in OPS, there most certainly are. Problem you are going to have is if you buy a house where there's a good school now there is no way to know what it will be like a few years later.
Are you into podcasts?  Take  listen to "Nice White Parents".  This is about public schools in New York. but I will tell you, they could have been talking about Oakland schools.  Many of the situations described are exactly what we went through with Oakland schools. The podcast is very well don.  


Can't help you with Berkeley schools.