Time is flying by here at the Alameda County Office of Education. It’s amazing to think that in less than a month I have been able to shadow, converse, and learn from such impactful leaders in the educational community. They have all provided vast insight into how the County functions and deepened my knowledge about educational issues such as the school-to-prison pipeline, education budgets, state education policy and much more. I’ve dipped my toes into various ongoing projects, but one I want to briefly elaborate on relates to juvenile justice reform and the education system.
There’s a ton to reflect on even though my internship with the Superintendent’s Office at the Alameda County of Education started less than two weeks ago. I have already met dozens of people and begun to sink my teeth into the projects that I will work on this summer. So far I feel a sense of calm urgency, and I think it’s in part fueled by my daily doses of morning coffee. Or it might be stoked by the constant planning, meetings, and conference calls that I keep seeing in motion around the office. There are many Post-It notes and tasks waiting to be accomplished and checked off the County’s to-do list. Since it is summer, that means budgets are being turned in for final review, including the budgets of the 18 school districts in Alameda County, the County Office of Education, and the State of California. Once budgets are finalized, education dollars will be allocated according to strategic plans laid out in each district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) to take care of students’ needs, especially for those most vulnerable. But as I’ve seen in federal government, education funding is tight in state and local governments as well. Despite there being more funding this year, politics still plays a huge role in ensuring the highest-need priorities are met. I am eager to witness how this plays out on the local level–where school boards and district staff will be able to make last-minute adjustments before everything is all set in stone.