Joys and Struggles of Public School Teaching, Discussed at Post Salon

Aug 29, 2015

Posted in Education/Schools/YouthEqual Rights/EquityOakland Job Programs

Educators who spoke at last Sunday’s Post Salon were (L to R) Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, Francisco Ortiz and Dr. Kitty Kelly Epstein. The event was held at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle in downtown Oakland. Photo by Jaron Epstein.

By Post Staff

About 70 people attended the Post newspaper’s most recent Salon to discuss the joys of teaching in the public schools and the policy barriers facing U.S. education

Speaker Francisco Ortiz is a popular teacher in Contra Costa County, the same district where he attended school.   He talked about his personal difficulties of being a Spanish-speaking student without enough Latino teachers.

He also talked about his curriculum, which includes the autobiographical story, “The Circuit,” his love of teaching and his father’s encouragement to pursue a career as an educator.

Kitty Kelly Epstein is a college professor, an author and an activist. Her presentation focused on the built-in racism of the U.S. system and its early roots in Oakland, the first place that used the racially biased group I.Q. tests created in 1916 by Stanford professor and Eugenics supporter Lewis Terman.

Dr. Epstein explored the growing movement of opposition to profit-oriented educational companies and to the new breed of standardized tests they promote.

Dr. Kimberly Mayfield is the chair of the Education Department at Holy Names University and one of the authors of Diversifying the Teacher Workforce.

She had encouraged people interested in becoming teachers to attend the Salon in order to participate in the discussion and to hear about the Teacher Apprentice Program (TAP), which recruits and supports local, diverse teachers as they move into teaching.

Her presentation focused on the joy of teaching and the barriers facing Black, Latino indigenous and Asian people attempting to enter the field.

Dr. Mayfield said that the TAP program, based at Holy Names University in Oakland, is designed to helps prospective teachers overcome the hurdles that keep them from entering the profession.

For information on the TAP program, call Stacy Johnson at (510) 436-1195 or email [email protected]