In his latest effort to militarize Oakland, after having given the police a green light to police in the War on Crime and inviting the Marines to town to do exercises, Jerry Brown is now pushing for the creation of an Oakland Military Academy that will put youth on the fast track to military service as an alternative to normal middle school and high school.
The proposed public charter school Academy, which could open as soon as this Fall, would be run by the California National Guard and would have students wear uniforms, run through military drills, and even take field trips to the rifle range. The old Oakland army base has been mentioned as a possible location.
The idea is being pushed heavily by Mayor Brown and by City Manager Robert Bobb who has said it will provide “educational choices to students and parents.”
“It would instill discipline and leadership,” says Brown.
The idea is patterned after the Virginia Military Institute in Richmond, Virginia, the first city in the country with a public military academy. Bobb was city manager in Richmond before being brought to Oakland, so it must have been his idea. One of his sons attended the Virginia Institute.
The idea already has $1.3 million in seed money from Governor Gray Davis and may have close to $10 million since Brown lobbied federal officials in Washington D.C. in January.
The military school is part of a “specialized schools” proposal by Brown and Bobb which includes a selective admissions “academic” high school for math and science, and a music and arts school. The Academy would be co-ed and include students from 6th grade through high school. One hundred and sixty 7th graders would make up the first class.
Brown who is probably using this as his latest stunt in plans to run for senator or president has said the Academy “will be a place of high achievement.” The School Board has not yet considered the proposal.