Oakland: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is the eleventh largest school district in the state. The district has a rich ethnic diversity with a little more than one-half African American students and the rest a mixture of Hispanic, white, combined Asian, and other students, including Native Americans. It has recently suffered a decline in student enrollment due to a changing job market and migration to nearby communities with lower housing costs. In 2003 the district's financial crisis led to a takeover by the State of California and the appointment of a State Administrator. OUSD has made gains in academic achievement and even surpassed the state's averages for the 2003-2004 school year. However, the district continues to face substantial academic and financial challenges. Oakland Unified is the only district in the state to allocate funds directly to each school based on enrollment and student demographics. Recently, Oakland's 20 charter schools have made significant improvements in student achievement, with nearly five times the growth of Oakland's district schools from 2003 to 2004. The district's graduation rate for 2003-2004 was 85.7 percent.

The following is a summary of data regarding Oakland's public schools as of the 2003–2004 school year.

Total enrollment: 52,501

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 60

junior high/middle schools: 20

senior high schools: 12

other: 20 charter schools

Student/teacher ratio: 18.2:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $37,090

maximum: $66,680

Funding per pupil: $8,410 (2001-2002)

Oakland has about 53 private schools.

Public Schools Information: Oakland Unified School District, 1025 Second Avenue, Oakland, CA 94606; telephone (510)879-8200

Colleges and Universities

Mills College is a private liberal arts school with an enrollment of more than 1,100 students that serves female undergraduates but admits men to its graduate school. The college grants bachelor's and master's degrees, and offers courses leading to California teaching credentials. Two of the four Peralta Community College District campuses are located in Oakland; they are Merritt College, a publicly supported coeducational junior college with an enrollment of nearly 6,000 students and Laney College, which offers associate's degrees in arts and science, pre-apprenticeship programs, and job retraining to its more than 11,000 students. The school offers liberal arts, technical-vocational, and general education programs in both day and evening schools. Holy Names College is a Catholic, liberal arts college that enrolls more than 900 students, primarily women. The college provides both bachelor's and master's programs. More than 700 students are enrolled at Patten University, a private co-educational school affiliated with the Christian Evangelical Churches of America, Inc. Patten awards associate and bachelor degrees. California College of the Arts is a four-year independent college of art and design. Its Oakland campus houses undergraduate art students. Naropa University of Boulder, Colorado, maintains a branch campus in Oakland; it offers an accredited Master of Liberal Arts in Creation Spirituality.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Oakland Public Library contains more than 1.3 million items and serves more than 430,000 area residents. The library has 15 branches, 1 bookmobile, a Second Start Literacy Program, Teen Homework Assistance Program and PASS! Homework Assistance Program. Bilingual collections include Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Cambodian, Thai, Laotian, and Vietnamese collections. Special collections cover African American history, business, gay/lesbian issues, Oakland history, and religion; a unique feature is a tool lending library. The main library is also a government documents repository.

Oakland has two research centers associated with the University of California: the California Agricultural Experiment Station and the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program. Another major research center in the city is the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. It is one of the top ten federally funded pediatric research facilities in the nation. Other research institutes in the city encompass the areas of art, third world development, child care, health, community economics, earthquakes, mental health, labor, Hispanic education, and disabilities.

Public Library Information: Oakland Public Library, 125 Fourteenth Street, Oakland, CA 94612; telephone (510)238-3134