A Chance For Every Child
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Our seminal 1988 report on Oakland's Infants, Children, and Youth at Risk for Persistent Poverty

Our seminal 1988 report on Oakland's Infants, Children, and Youth at Risk for Persistent Poverty

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  • 1. A CHANCE FOR EVERY CHILD:Oaklands Infants, Children, and Youth at Risk for Persistent Poverty A Report by the Urban Strategies Council Oakland, California Februan;, 1988 DUPLICATE
  • 2. II
  • 3. Mission StatementThe Urban Strategies Council is an Oakland but the current members are:based non-profit resource/policy group. Thefollowing is a statement of the Councils mission: Angela Glover Blackwell, The mission of the Urban Strategies Council Presidentis to involve key sectors of the Oakland area Most Reverend John S. Cummins, Bishop ofcommunity in comprehensive focused initiatives the Diocese of Oaklandaimed at reducing urban persistent poverty. Jane Garcia, Executive Director, La Clinica deThese initiatives will seek to increase the incomes la Razaof poor women and men heading families to The Reverend Will L. Herzfeld, D.D., Pastor,expand their opportunities; improve community Bethlehem Lutheran Churchhealth so individual options are not limited; Robert C. Maynard, Editor and President, Theimprove educational opportunities for citizens at Tribunerisk to provide all with the basics to compete and Robert W. Nichelini, Deputy Chief of Police ofbe productive; and insure that training, Oaklandemployment, and other opportunities are made Robert A.D. Schwartz, Attorney at Lawavailable, especially to the youth, to enable them Robert S. Shoffner, Vice-President, Firstto approach adulthood with empowerment and Interstate Bankdirection. Norma J. Tucker, President, Merritt College To accomplish this, the Urban Strategies James A. Vohs, Chairman and President ofCouncil will seek ways to encourage and facili- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.tate the coordination and expansion of existingresources through the use of data to guide policyand the identification of approaches, models, and Address:activities that have proven successful in poverty Urban Strategies Councilreduction. In addition, the Urban Strategies Thornton HouseCouncil will rely on public education, convening, 672 13th Streetand advocacy capabilities to encourage and assist Oakland, California 94612in the development of strategies aimed at provid- (415) 893-2404ing a chance for every child. The Councils board is still in formation © Urban Strategies Council, 1988
  • 4. AcknowledgementsOn behalf of the Urban Strategies Council, I wish to Paulicos P. Prastacos and Pertti Karjalainen ofto express appreciation and thanks to the many the Association of Bay Area Governments.people who, in the midst of their busy schedules, Very special appreciation for their honestytook time to find and interpret information and and openness to James Edwards, Katrinadata for us and share their personal insights re- Washington, Henry Mitchell, Julia Calhoun,garding the poverty risks which threaten Allison Mays-Reed, Donna Rhinehart, DebrahOaklands children and youth. Moutry, Judy Klein, and Bill Mayfield. In particular, we thank Denise Peebles and My deepest thanks to David Troutt, a recentKaren Hembry of the East Bay Perinatal Coundl, graduate of Stanford University who, during thisDr. Barbara Allen and Janis Burger of the past year as a research analyst, contributedAlameda County Health Care Services Agency, greatly to the production of this documentDr. Grace Carol Massey of the Institute for Devel- through research, data gathering, interviews, andopmental Studies, Dorothy Patterson of the Teen writing. I especially appreciated the sensitivityParent Assistance Program and Dr. Joseph and skill he exhibited in drafting the vignettes,Adwere-Boamah of the Office of Research and his persistence in developing the concept ofOakland Unified School District, Kati Haycock of the maps at the end of this document. Specialthe Achievement Council, Helen Cagampang of thanks to staff members Gloria Kennard andthe PACE Program at U.C. Berkeley, Floretta Edward F. Church and consultant Maria Casey.Chisolm of Oakland Head Start, Angela Johnson, In addition, I wish to acknowledge the intel-the Oakland Childcare Coordinator, Kathy lectual support I received from James Gibson ofArchuleta and Miles Frazell of the Alameda the Rockefeller Foundation and Michael Fix ofCounty Social Services Agency, Gay Plair Cobb the Urban Institute.of the Oakland Private Industry Council, Dr. Ann We are very grateful for the generousBouie-Wilson of Project Interface, Dr. James support from the following foundations thatJackson of Highland Hospital, Dora Monterrosa made this report possible: The William and Floraof La Clinica de la Raza, Christian Day, Tiona Ei- Hewlett Foundation, The Rockefeller Founda-nowski and especially Ann Gerken of the State tion, and The San Francisco Foundation.Data Program at U.C. Berkeley, Marc Teicholz,Research Assistant, and Johnny Lorigo of McCly- In gratitude and appreciation,monds High School. Angela Glover Blackwell Special thanks to Aileen Hernandez Asso- President and Executive Directorciates and Aileen Hernandez, in particular, for of the Urban Strategies Councilher guidance and ideas regarding this report; and 2
  • 5. Table of ContentsAcknowledgements .................................... 2 3. Dropouts ............................................... 47 4. After School ......................................... 49Executive Summary .................................... 4 B. Work Experience ................................ .49 1. Unemployment .................................. .49Introduction .................................................. 7 2. Idleness ................................................. 49 3. Jobs and Job Training ......................... 50Chapter 1: Poverty in Oakland ............... 10 C. Teen Pregnancy ................................... 51A. A City in Transition ............................ 10 D. Role Models ......................................... 53B. Persisting Poverty ............................... 11 Three Futures ................................................ 551. Increasing Poverty .............................. 152. Children in Poverty ............................ 15 Conclusion ..................................................59Chapter 2: Families ................................... 17 Bibliography ............................................... 61A. Female-Headed Families ................... 17B. Geographical Concentration ............. 18C. Labor Force Disadvantages ............... 211. Non-Participation and Unemployment ............................ 222. Changing Occupational Structure .... 233. Earnings Capacity ............................... 254. Marriageability .................................... 25D. Welfare Recipiency ............................. 26Chapter 3: Infancy and Childhood ........ 29A. Health ................................................... 291. Infant Deaths ....................................... 292. At Greatest Risk .................................. 303. Dangers of Low Birthweight ............. 30A Healthy Baby ............................................ 324. Improving Services .............................34B. Education ............................................. 361. Preschool Education ........................... 362. Elementary School Education ........... 383. Middle and Junior High Schools ...... 38Tutorial ......................................................... 40Chapter 4: Adolescence .......................... .43A. School .................................................... 431. Skills ...................................................... 432. College Readiness .............................. .46 3
  • 6. Executive SummaryWhat is the Urban Strategies Council? old. Three out of four poor children are Black. In The Urban Strategies Council is an Oakland- the poor neighborhoods in Oakland, 56 percentbased non-profit resource/policy group seeking of children live below the poverty level.to work with the Oakland community byproviding data, convening, and advocacy Where do these poor children live?support, to develop comprehensive, focused The majority of poor children in Oaklandinitiatives aimed at reducing urban persistent live in female-headed families. Seventy-fivepoverty. percent of families with children in poverty are headed by single women. Increasingly, theseIs poverty a serious problem in Oakland? poor families are living in neighborhoods that Serious, yes, but not catastrophic. In 1966, are predominantly poor. From 1970 to 1980,13 percent of Oaklands population lived below there was a 79 percent increase in the sheer num-the poverty leveL In 1980, 18 percent did. Of 20 bers of poor families with children living inlarge U.S. cities selected from a listing of the 50 neighborhoods in which at least 40 percent of thelargest cities in the 1980 Census in which Newark families there lived below the poverty level.had the highest poverty rate at 33 percent andSan Jose had the lowest at 8 percent Oakland Aie all families headed by females at risk forranked fourteenth between Washington, D.C. at persistent poverty?19 percent and Los Angeles at 16 percent. When No, in fact, while poverty is becoming morecompared with six geographically diverse central concentrated in families headed by singlecities, Oakland exhibits one of the lower rates of women, the proportion of female-headed fami-overall poverty and the highest level of schooling lies that are poor is shrinking. In 1970 half of allamong Black men and women over age 25. female-headed families were poor, but in 1980 Therefore, while poverty is a serious prob- one-third of such families were poor. The great-lem in Oakland, it is not as severe as it is in many est risks confront those women who lack educa-other cities. With enough resources put into tion and skills. Those females who were nottargeted, focused, proven strategies, we can achieving in school and dropped out, oftensignificantly reduce poverty here. beginning families as teenagers, are the most likely to be caught in the cycle of poverty.How many children in Oakland are poor? Thirty-seven percent of Oaklands children Can poor women heading families work theirare poor- more than 30,000. Of those, more than way out of poverty?10,000 are infants and toddlers under five years Yes, but only with basic skills and appropri- ate job training. A new urban landscape has 4
  • 7. --- -·· - - -- - - - -- - -- - emerged in Oaklands job market over the last 20 early comprehensive prenatal care in increasing years, which threatens the incomes of entry-level birthweight and reducing infant mortality. Yet, wage earners raising families. Black males and in Alameda County, 20 percent of women did females suffer much higher rates of unemploy- not begin prenatal care during the first trimester. ment and non-participation than other groups. Entry-level jobs are now concentrated among What about preschool education as a way out of service and "pink-collar" (clerical and sales) poverty? industries where wages are low, benefits are few, Several longitudinal studies have shown and skill requirements are often high. that providing quality preschool education to low-income minority children not only improves What are the job opportunities for men? their performance in school, but improves their The disproportionately low earnings capac- life options as well. Yet, among nearly 11,500 ity for women has been coupled with the decline two- to five-year-olds receiving AFDC in in the number of men working full-time. In 1980 Oakland, fewer than 4,000 are involved in child- in Oakland, for every 100 Black females between care or preschool programs that could provide the ages of 25 and 34, there were only 45 Black this quality preschool experience. men of the same age working full time. Are poor children succeeding academically in Where does the poverty cycle begin? the Oakland public schools? It begins in poor families. And poor families Many are; but too many are not. Those at- are likely to produce infants at risk. In Alameda tending schools that are predominated by low- Countys high-risk areas, including most of income children appear at greatest risk. Among Oakland, between 1978 and 1984 the infant the elementary schools in Oakland there are 21 mortality rate averaged 13.9 deaths per thou- schools in which over 50 percent of the students sand. This rate was 59.8 percent greater than the receive AFDC. While some of these schools remaining parts of the county. Black infants appear to be outstanding, many appear to be in fared worse. In the same period, 1978 to 1984, need of assistance. The same is true for the the average Black infant mortality rate was 79.3 middle and junior high schools with high con- percent higher than the rest of the county. centrations of poor children. Low birthweight is the prime contributor to infant deaths. In 1985, 13 percent of Black babies What are the prospects for Oaklands youth? were born of low birthweight compared to 7 The threat of persistent poverty is stark for percent for the rest of the county. In the poverty at-risk youth. Students concentrated in schools areas of Alameda County, the low birthweight that are overwhelmingly poor are more likely to rates are over 10 percent. Births to teens are a underachieve academically and are not attending contributor to the high low birthweight rate in four-year institutions in the numbers that one the county. In 1985 in Alameda County, 3.2 would hope. At two high schools over 90 per- percent of all births were to teens under 17. But 5 cent of the students are Black and over 95 percent percent of all low weight births were to this of the students receive AFDC. During group. adolescence, the risk of persistent poverty is intensified by high dropout rates, teenage preg- What can be done to improve birthweights? nancies, and teen idleness. According to the 1980 There is no mystery concerning what is Census, of all youth aged 16 to 19 in Oakland needed to improve birth outcomes. For years the who are out of school, 51 percent of the high medical literature has confirmed the success of school graduates and 69 percent of the non-high 5
  • 8. school graduates were unemployed or not in the The Council will also provide convening andlabor force. advocacy assistance to help develop and imple- ment these strategies to create a chance for every What can Oakland do to reduce the threat of child.persistent poverty? Oakland should build on its strengths todevelop comprehensive, community-widefocused initiatives to reduce the threat of persis-tent poverty. There are examples all aroundOakland of service providers addressing theissues of infant mortality, low birthweight,teenage pregnancy, youth idleness, appropriatejob training and quality educational experiences.We need to identify those programs and effortsthat are working and expand the availability ofthese important resources to all of Oaklandsfamilies, children, and youth in need. We need to provide support and commu-nity-wide cooperation and coordination forefforts that seek to: 0 Improve family incomes, by focusing onincreasing the earnings of females headingfamilies and increasing the job opportunities andthe earnings of at-risk males. 0 Improve child health by reducing thethreat of low birth weight. 0 Greatly expand the availability of qualitypreschool education for poor minority childrenand build excellence in our public schools,focusing especially on those schools with highconcentrations of poor children. 0 Provide greater options for youth throughefforts to connect the youth to health, socialservice and counseling support, after-school pro-grams, academic support, appropriate job train-ing programs, college readiness efforts,mentorships, and work opportunities.What can the Urban Strategies Council do toassist? The Urban Strategies Council is available asa resource to the entire Oakland community toprovide data about those in and at risk forpoverty, and information about approaches andmodels that are successfully reducing these risks. 6
  • 9. IntroductionThe existence of a sizable population of minori- diverse role models. If these poverty trendsties trapped in what threatens to be persistent continue, the children of these families willpoverty is not a phenomenon peculiar to continue lives of poverty.Oakland. In fact, cities across the country are From the beginning, children growing up inexperiencing the entrenchment of the poor in poverty are overexposed to risk factors that leadincreasingly isolated and depressed neighbor- to continued deprivation. Their mothers often dohoods. This report explores the risks that not receive the prenatal care, nutrition, andthreaten to trap Oaklands children in a cycle of support necessary for a healthy birth. Prohibitivepersistent poverty. It challenges Oakland to cost and long waiting lists for subsidizedbuild upon its many strengths and become a childcare spaces severely limit access to accept-model for coordinating, targeting, and expanding able childcare arrangements. Access to qualityexisting resources to significantly relieve the preschool education that could provide the headthreat of long-term poverty. start needed for successful school performance is In the face of persistent poverty, Oakland lacking. These children often do not have qualityoffers real opportunities for building a healthier elementary, junior high, and high school experi-and more productive community. It is a city ences. Nor do they have the opportunities to dis-with a diversified economic base, a multicultural cover their talents through structured after-population, and committed, accessible civic lead- school programs in music, crafts, drama, art,ership. At various times all sectors of this com- creative writing or athletics.munity- private, public, volunteer, community- All too often because of the absence of jobbased organizations, churches - have demon- opportunities available to parents and otherstrated a willingness to work together to address community adults, these children are not ex-common community concerns. If persistent posed to adults who know the satisfaction ofpoverty can be effectively addressed any place, it working and being rewarded for that work.can be addressed in Oakland. What is needed is And, as older youth, they often do not havea sustained focus on the roots of persistent chances to work themselves and build the self-poverty and workable, coordinated initiatives to esteem that comes from a a job- and a paycheck.build pathways out. The result of this combined deprivation is According to the 1980 Census there are that many poor children growing up in Oak-10,559 families with children under 18 years in lands poor neighborhoods will live out theirOakland living below the poverty level. Increas- childhoods in poverty and begin a repetition ofingly, these families are concentrated in neigh- this insidious cycle unless we collectively beginborhoods that are isolated from services, employ- to act to provide real options.ment opportunities, community institutions, and This is not only a problem for the poor. 7
  • 10. Americas continued prosperity and competitive dangerously low weight at birth, not havingstatus in the world depends on its ability to access to quality education and training, andeducate and provide avenues to productivity for spending the formative teenage years tdle. Ifpoor minority children. Current estimates are these four areas -family income, child health,that by the year 2020 one-third of the U.S. popu- education and training, and youth opportunity-lation will be minority. If current high levels of can be substantially improved, many more ofpoverty among minorities continue, a sizable Oaklands children will have a chance for anumber of those comprising the future work brighter future.force will be ill-equipped for the task. To con- Currently, there are impressive activities intinue to thrive, then, this country must do Oakland addressing various parts of this prob-something about the opportunities available to lem. But continued poverty here indicates thatthe poor. more needs to be done. We must expand on the Oaklands problems are only a microcosm of efforts that have proven successful and developthis larger American dilemma. Just as children new models in areas where needed. It is ourare the nations greatest future resource, they are hope that this report will serve as a catalyst foralso Oaklands greatest resource. While we may dialogues which will lead to the initiatives thatnot be able to fully control how our investment will build bridges to self-sufficiency.in that resource is handled on the federallevet in This document is divided into four chapters.Oakland we can and should control it. Oakland They are briefly summarized below.now has the service providers, the business and Chapter 1, Poverty in Oakland, looks atcommunity leadership, and the increasing stabil- Oakland as a city in transition and examines inity and prosperity to direct this investment some detail the growing numbers of poor, espe-wisely. cially children. Fortunately for Oakland, this citys poverty Chapter 2, Families, examines poor familiesis not as severe as that in many American cities -perhaps the single biggest risk factor for a lifeand the prospects for real opportunities are great. of persistent poverty. Yet, we know that allAccording to 1980 Census data the percent of people born into poverty do not stay there. Thispoverty in Oakland is less than that of Atlanta, chapter looks at female-headed families in pov-Baltimore, and Cleveland, all comparably sized erty and the shrinking opportunities available tocities. Oakland also has not been hit as hard, as men and women during the childbearing years.many eastern and midwestern cities have, by the Included is an examination of the increasingshift from manufacturing to service jobs. concentration of the poor in poor neighborhoods.Oaklands middle class has continued to flourish Chapter 3, Infancy and Childhood, exam-and H has a sizable Black middle class. ines infant mortality and low birthweight trends Yet, when fully one-third of Oaklands in Oakland emphasizing that a low birthweightchildren live in poverty, one can find little corn- baby born into a poor family is at extreme risk.fort in the knowledge that "things could be Lack of access to preschool programs inworse." But since poverty in Oakland is still Oaklands poor neighborhoods is then discussed,manageable, there is reason to hope that with followed by a look at poor minority children inresources, cooperation, and hard work we can Oaklands schools.confront the threat of continued poverty here. Finally, Chapter 4, Adolescence, explores This document examines the risk factors and the ominous signs of persistent poverty that arethe interrelationship of those factors that may apparent among the youth. Severe school under-lead to lives of persistent poverty; in particular, achievement, high dropout rates, low attendancebeing a member of a poor family and having a at four-year institutions, youth idleness, and 8
  • 11. --·-- .. --- -----teenage pregnancy are all discussed as factors readable, we have almost entirely omitted foot-that lead to persistent poverty. notes from the text. However, what is gained Throughout this report when the term from readability is sometimes lost in providing"poverty" is used, unless defined otherwise, it valuable resources. Therefore, we have attachedrefers to persons living below the official poverty a short bibliography to the end of the reportlevel as used by the U.S. Census. This definition listing sources used in each chapter as well asis based on a calculation of the U.S. Department reference materials for the interested reader.of Agriculture. The level at which "poverty" In brief, U.S. Census Bureau data (1980)occurs is three times the amount of income, formed the core of the research strategy. Thebefore taxes, needed to buy enough thrifty Oakland Unified School Districts publishedfoodstuff to feed a family (adjusted according to school profiles, raw data from the Alamedathe size of the family). At the time of the 1980 County Department of Social Services, the EastCensus, the amount for a family of four was Bay Perinatal Councils Adolescent Family Life$8,414. In 1985, it was $10,650. Families are Program records, the Childrens Defense Fund,considered "below" the poverty level if their and calculations by the Association of Bay Areaincome is less than this amount. "Poverty level" Governments all proved indispensable. We alsodoes not take into account non-cash assistance, relied heavily on published reports, articles,such as Medicaid, food stamps, or subsidized studies, and periodical pieces from an array ofhousing. This is an imprecise measure at best, research institutes and scholars across the coun-but since it is used by many agencies, writers, try, most of whose works are listed in theand institutions, it is useful for purposes of bibliography.comparison. What follows is an attempt to identify the points in the cycles of poverty that are vulnerableAbout the Thematic Maps to interventions which can stop these cycles andIn the final appendix to this document, the create a chance for every child.reader will find four removable thematic mapsenclosed in a folder on the back cover. Directlyopposite is a base map showing Oaklands sevencommunity development districts. The grey areasrepresent areas in which at least 30 percent offamilies with children living there had incomesbelow poverty level in 1980. The four overlaymaps may be manipulated in various ways toshow the geographical concentration of AFDCrecipiency, births to teens, low birthweightbirths, and teen idleness (an index described inChapter 4) in relationship to these areas. We encourage the reader to orient him orherself with the maps when beginning the report,and to use them as hands-on reference pointsthroughout the body of the text.About the SourcesIn the hope of making our document more 9
  • 12. ·- ····-·- - - - -- - -- - Chapter 1: Poverty in Oakland In the midst of prosperity and growth, poverty in Oakland remains a serious problem.For many people, California and prosperity are stantial disposable incomes. In the 1980 Censusinseparable. Today, California is the largest 132,000 East Bay households reported incomes ofstate, with more than 10 percent of the nations $35,000 or more, significantly more than anypeople and 12 percent of total personal income. other Bay Area county. Because of this affluence, The nine-county San Francisco Bay Area is the East Bay has become the largest metropolitanthe most affluent region of this affluent state. market in northern California.This expansive metropolis with its population of At the center of this prosperous region is5.6 million is the nations fourth largest metro- Oakland.politan area. With only 5 percent of Californiasland area, but one-fifth of its population, the BayArea has become one of the most prosperous A. City in Transitionmetropolitan regions in the United States. Per Oakland is a beautiful and prosperous city. It iscapita personal income in the Bay Area sails 10 nestled between a long waterfront and rollingpercent above the state average and nearly 30 foothills directly across the bay from San Fran-percent above the national average. cisco. Over 330,000 people live in Oakland, Although San Francisco is the Bay Areas housed in an architectural mixture of statelyoldest and most densely populated urban center, Victorians, rustic California bungalows, smallmost of the regions population now lives else- Mediterranean style homes, postwar tract hous-where around the Bay. Well over half of the ing, and contemporary stucco apartments.population of the Bay Area resides in three With its pleasant weather, waterfront ma-counties: Santa Clara County, which has over 1.4 rina, midtown lake, and sports coliseum,million residents, and Alameda and Contra Costa Oakland typifies Americas classic images ofCounties, the "East Bay," which have almost two California living.million residents. Oakland is also an employment center. The East Bay is the Bay regions biggest With a wholesale distribution and transportgrowth center. Its population is expanding over industry (based on one of the largest container10 percent every decade. A large proportion of ports in the world), several corporate headquar-East Bay residents are professionals with sub- ters, a regional concentration of government 11
  • 13. agencies, and many small retail and service leadership positions in private institutions. Thisemployers, Oaklands economy has created more has so affected a wide spectrum of urban policiesjobs (an estimated 186;300) than its resident labor that in a 1983 nationwide comparison of majorforce (181,248). American cities, Oakland ranked as the most in- Oakland is both a beautiful California tegrated.community and a prospering Pacificmetropolis. But many Oakland citizens are poor. Al- B. Persisting Povertythough Oaklands population is only 30 percent The diverse civic representation, however, hasof the East Bay total, 60 percent of the high- not solved Oaklands problems of social econ-poverty East Bay census tracts are in Oakland. omy. A persistent poverty afflicts Oakland. ButTo understand poverty in Oakland it is impor- as the data on the following pages shows,tant to look at the changes which have taken Oaklands poverty is not nearly as severe as thatplace in the city over the past two generations. in many American cities. Oakland was a different city in the 1950s. It Table 1-1 demonstrates that Oaklands rateswas a manufacturing and shipping center popu- of poverty in 1980 and 1970 were comparable tolated by a relatively stable citizenry. Half of the those in other western cities both in terms ofcitys households owned their own homes. overall poverty and Black poverty. This was trueWhen Look maga-zine cited Oakland as its "All- concerning changes in poverty rates as well.American City" for 1957, non-whites were less Among 10 of the 20 cities represented, povertythan 20 percent of the citys population, and all of rates rose by four or more percentage points, theOaklands business leaders and elected officials greatest increase occurring in Newark, Newwere white males. Jersey (10.5). From 1970 to 1980, poverty in But like other American central cities, Oakland rose by only two percentage points.Oakland began to change. Postwar development Tables 1-2 through 1-5 compare Oaklandof new freeways and new suburbs started a with six geographically diverse central cities.process of "decentralization." Factories, horne- These comparisons reveal that Oaklands overallowners, and retail businesses began to leave and Black poverty rates are toward the low endOakland, while lower-income people, especially of the scale for all age groups. Also, levels ofracial and ethnic minorities, moved into the city schooling for Black men and women in Oaklandto replace those who were leaving. By the 1960s, are among the highest. So, as we examine pov-over 100,000 middle-income homeowners had erty in Oakland, it is appropriate to rememberleft Oakland, to be replaced by lower-income that neither the poverty nor the conditions inrenters. This process of demographic change Oakland are catastrophic.continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Oakland in the 1980s is a multiculturalcommunity. With a population 47 percent Black,10 percent Hispanic, and 8 percent Asian andPacific Islander, as well as 35 percent white,Oakland is the largest city in California wherepeople of color are a majority of the population. More than most California cities, Oaklandscivic leadership reflects this diversity. The past20 years have seen an ascendance of minorityand women leaders into electoral offices and 12
  • 14. Table 1·1: Poverty Rates for 20 of Americas Largest Cities1Based on 1980 and 1970 Census Data Total Population Black Population Poverty Change Poverty ChangeCities Rate 1980 From 1970 Rate 1980 From 1970Newark, NJ2 33% 10.5 38% 10.8Atlanta, GA 28% 7.0 35% 5.3New Orleans, LA 26% -0.6 37% -6.7Miami, FL 25% 4.2 39% 7.1Baltimore, MD 23% 4.5 31% 3.9Cleveland, OH 22% 4.7 32% 4.4Detro~. Ml 22% 7.0 27% 4.7Philadelphia, PA 21% 5.2 32% 6.8San Antonio, TX 21% -0.8 29% -6.7Boston, MA 20% 4.0 29% 0.5Chicago,IL 20% 5.8 32% 6.6New York, NY 20% 5.2 30% 5.5Washington, DC 19% 1.7 22% 2.7Oakland, CA 18% 2.0 25% 0.1Los Angeles, CA 16% 3.1 26% 0.7Denver, CO 14% 0.0 23% -1 .4San Francisco, CA 14% -0.4 25% 0.Dallas, TX 14% 0.6 24% -5.8Seattle, WA 11 o/o 0.8 23% 0.5San Jose, CN 8% -0.6 15% -5.41 Representative cities, taken from the 50 largest U.S. cities.2 The city with the most poverty in the 50 largest cities.3 The city with the least poverty in the 50 largest cities. 13
  • 15. Table 1·2: Oakland and Six Central Cities Compared, 1980 District of Atlanta Baltimore Boston Cleveland Dallas Columbia OaklandGeographic Area South Mid-Atlantic Northeast Midwest Southwest Mid-Atlantic West CoastPopulation 425,072 780,775 562,994 573,822 904,078 638,333 339,337Peroent Black 67% 55% 22% 44% 29% 70% 47%Souroe: U.S. Bureau of the Census (1982).Table 1·3: Percentage of Persons Below Poverty Level by Age,Oakland and Six Central Cities Compared, 1980 District ofAge of group Atlanta Baltimore Boston Cleveland Dallas Columbia OaklandChildren under 16 40% 34% 32% 32% 21% 28% 30%Persons 16-64 23% 20% 18% 19% 11% 16% 17%Persons 65+ 26% 19% 13% 20% 17% 19% 11%Note: Excludes inmates of institutions, persons in military group quarters and in college dormitories and unrelated individuals under 15years. Data are estimates based on samples.Souroe: U.S. Bureau of the Census (1981a), Table 245. 14
  • 16. Table 1-4: Percentage of Black Persons Below Poverty Level by Age,Oakland and Six Central Cities Compared, 1980 District of Atlanta Baltimore Boston Cleveland Dallas Columbia OaklandChildren under 16 45% 41% 40% 43% 31% 31% 36%Persons 16-64 29% 26% 24% 24% 20% 18% 22"/oPersons 65+ 39% 32"/o 20% 32"/o 39% 25% 15%Note: Excludes inmates of inst~utions, persons in military group quarters and in college dormitories, and unrelatedindividuals under 15 years. Data are estimates based on samples.Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census (1981a), Table 245.Table 1-5: Years of School Completed by Black Men and Women Aged 25 and Over,Oakland and Six Central Cities Compared, 1980 District of Atlanta Baltimore Boston Cleveland Dallas Columbia OaklandBlack males 25 & over:Completed 8th grade or less 28% 33% 18% 24% 20% 23% 18%Completed 4 years of high school 50% 42% 63% 48% 59% 64% 67%Completed 4+ years of college 10% 6% 10% 4% 9% 13% 11 %Black females 25 & over:Completed 8th grade or less 26% 26% 17% 20% 18% 19% 16%Completed 4 years of high school 51% 47% 60% 51% 60% 65% 66%Completed 4+ years of college 10% 7% 8% 4% 9% 12% 9%Note: Data are estimates based on samples.Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, (1981c) Table 132. 15
  • 17. found that the poverty rate for children increased by 35 percent between 1979 ~d 1983, and by Table 1-6: Poverty in Oakland even greater margins if alternative definitions of poverty are used. The risk is much higher for 1966 1970 1980 1986 (est) children of color, who are two to three times Total population 373,460 361,561 339,337 352,100 more likely to be poor than white children. The patterns of poverty among Oaklands Below poverty 46,720 58,534 61,609 80,092 children are no different. In Oakland, out of every 100 children, 37live in poverty. Over Poverty rate 13% 16% 18% 23% 30,000 children in Oakland are growing up poor, Sourcs: 1966 figures, City Household survey; 1970 and 1980, including almost 10,000 babies under five years U.S. Census; 1986, based on ABAG estimates and national old. The poverty rate among children who live poverty trends in Oaklands low-income neighborhoods is even more striking. There out of every 100 children, 56 live in poverty. These trends are illustrated in Table 1-7.1. Increasing Poverty By racial and ethnic group, the disparities inOver the past 20 years, poverty has become more child poverty in Oakland are alarming. Forpervasive in Oakland. In 1966, a special survey white children, the poverty rate is 2.7 percent; forof households found that 46,720 Oakland resi- Black children, 35.7 percent; for Native Ameri-dents lived in poverty, about one-eighth of the cans, 35 percent; for Hispanics, 28.8 percent; andcitys total population. for Asians and Pacific Islanders, 21.8 percent. A generation later, the poverty rate has The remainder of this document examinesalmost doubled. In 1980, the census counted the risk factors that threaten to entrap these poor61,609 persons below the poverty level, almost children in a cycle of persistent poverty.one-fifth of Oaklands total population. Todayestimates are that approximately 80,000 peopleare living in poverty, nearly a fourth ofOaklands population. Data on poverty in Oakland over the past 20years are shown in Table 1-6. (The current level Table 1-7: Oakland Children in Povertyof poverty in Oakland can only be approximated.The Citys Department of Social Services esti- Citywide Poverty Areasmates that there are 90,000 people in Oakland at 1980 1986 (est.) 1980 1986 (est.)or near poverty. In deriving the figure of 80,000, Persons under 18 80,476 83,503 37,020 38,412we have assumed that Oakland has reflected thenational economic trends that produced a 30 Below poverty 22,852 30,825 15,800 21,330percent increase in poverty nationwide in thefive years between 1979 and 1984.) Poverty rate 28% 37% 43% 56% Source: 1980 figures, U.S. Census; 1986, based on ABAG2. Children in Poverty estimates and national poverty trendsEven more unsettling than overall poverty is theprevalence of poverty among children. Childrenmake up nearly 40 percent of the countrys poor.A report by the Congressional Research Service 16
  • 18. .- - ·--- -- - - - - Chapter 2: Families Persistent poverty begins in families - often headed by single women.More and more families are living below the the poverty line were headed by women. poverty line in Oakland, though general popula-tion has remained fairly stable over the last 0 The concentration of poor families into verydecade. One out of five families with children poor neighborhoods has dramaticallywas poor in 1970, compared to one in four by increased, along with their isolation from the1980. The sheer numbers of poor families in- citys mainstream.creased by 30 percent during that decade. Therewere two thousand additional Black families 0 A new urban landscape emerging in citiesliving below the poverty line in 1980. like Oakland during the last 20 years has This chapter examines the families of changed the job opportunities available toOaklands at-risk children by focusing on the adults with few skills and little education.opportunities available to their parents. Todays parents grapple with jobs that payEmphasis is placed on the increase in poor less, require higher skills, and are oftenfemale-headed families and the neighborhoods unattainable.of dense poverty where they live. Additionally,the growing labor force disadvantages facing 0 Labor force disadvantages have kept theyoung parents of at-risk children and the rising numbers of economically marriageable Blackrate of welfare recipiency are chronicled. The males low and continue to hit female-headedevolution of a new urban landscape - where families hardest.families are isolated from opportunities andwhere many of Oaklands children grow up at 0 Welfare recipiency, which increased bygreat risk- is apparent. · 25 percent between 1970 and 1980, is still on In Oakland: the rise in Oaklands entrenched poverty areas.0 Almost three out of four homes where poor children live are headed by single women, and three out of four poor children are Black. A. Female-Headed Families No poverty trend is more significant than the0 Four out of five Black families living below increase in the proportion of female-headed 17
  • 19. families that are poor since 1970; this increase Poverty has become concentrated amongposes the greatest risk to Oaklands children. female-headed families, but the actual risk ofWhen the females heading these families lack poverty in these families has declined. For ex-education and skills, there are few opportunities ample, half of all female-headed families into improve the families incomes. The low Oakland were poor in 1970, but in 1980, one-earnings force these females heading families third of such families were poor. Clearly, someinto the poorest neighborhoods, further isolating single women with children are at much greaterthe women and their children from resources and risk for poverty than others.opportunities. The risk of poverty among female-headed The number of female-headed families families has been greatest in Oaklands Blackliving below the poverty line in Oakland in- community. Seventy-two percent or 16,412 ofcreased by 43 percent between 1970 and 1980. In Oaklands 22,809 female-headed families were1970, female-headed families in Oakland repre- Black in 1980. The number of Black female-sented two-thirds of all the citys families in headed families that were poor increased by 65poverty (65.6 percent), as shown in Table 2-1. By percent between 1970 and 1980, from 3,860 to1980, they represented nearly three-quarters of 6,355 (Table 2-2). In 1970, they accounted for 35all poor families (72.1 percent). percent of all Black families and 73.4 percent of For children living below the poverty line Black families in poverty. But in 1980, 42 percentthe increase was identical. In 1970, two-thirds of all Black families were headed by women, and(65.7 percent) of Oaklands poor children under they represented 80.3 percent of Black families in18lived in female-headed families. In 1980, 70.2 poverty.percent of all poor children lived in such families. While nearly the same proportion of Black children were poor in 1970 as in 1980, there has been a growing concentration of poor children in single-parent homes. Between 1970 and 1980 the number of Black children who were poor and Table 2-1 : Female-Headed Families and their living in single-parent households increased by Children in Poverty in Oakland, 16 percent. In fact, by 1980 approximately 50 1970 and 1980 percent of all Black children from single-parent homes lived in poverty. 1970 1980 Change Poverty among female-headed families is Total poor families 8,105 10,559 +30.3% also devastating in Oaklands Native American community. Nearly a quarter (23.6 percent) of Female-headed 5,31 6 7,615 t43.2% Native American families were below the pov- poor families erty line in 1980. Of those, 58 percent were (%of total) (65.6%) (72.1%) headed by single women. More than a third of Total children living 22,411 22,413 0% Native American children under 16 were poor. in poverty Poor children in female- 14,729 15,735 +6.8% B. Geographical Concentration headed families Increased family poverty has been accompanied (%of total) (65.7%) (70.2%) by a growing concentration of low-income Source: 1970 U.S. Census, Tables 208 & 212; families into high poverty areas. Many poor 1980 U.S. Census, Table 250 people in Oakland live in "pockets of poverty," neighborhoods populated almost exclusively by 1R
  • 20. - -- - ---·-·- -- -- -- of poverty areas increased between 1970 and 1980 by 13.2 percent. · Table 2-2: Black Female-Headed Families as An additional graphic illustration of the Percentage of all Black Families and those in overall increase in the concentration of poor Poverty in Oakland, 1970 and 1980 families into very poor neighborhoods is shown in a comparison between the maps found on the 1970 1980 Change next two pages. The shaded areas represent clusters of census tracts in which 30 percent or Total Black female- 6,731 16,412 +143% headed families more of all families with children were poor. As = % of all Black females 35% 42% the maps show, the number of census tracts designated as high poverty areas in 1970 had Total Black female- 3,860 6,355 +64% increased by almost 10 percent in 1980. During headed poor families that time, the number of poor families living in =% of all poor Black families 73.4% 80.3% those areas increased by 58.5 percent. Overall, Source: 1970 U.S. Census, Tables 208 & 212; half of all Oaklands poor families with children 1980 U.S. Census, Table 250 lived in these areas. (These maps may also be compared to the ones in the last appendix of the book.) The impact of concentration on persistentpoor and near-poor families and individuals. urban poverty was first discussed by the noted Between 1970 and 1980, the number of sociologist William Julius Wilson in his examina-poverty areas in Oakland increased, and the tion of the changing landscape of inner cities.number of poor families living in the areas of The consequence of concentration is isolation,most extreme poverty significantly increased. It according to Wilson. Low-income familiesshould be noted, however, that at the same time,many poor families moved out of poverty areas. Information derived from the 1970 and 1980Censuses reveals changing trends in the concen- Table 2-3: Families with Children in Poverty:tration of poor families in Oaklands neighbor- Geographical Growth &Density, 1970 and 1980hoods. There has been a greater influx of poorfamilies into areas where the density of poverty 1970 1980 Changeis the highest. Table 2-3 shows that fewer low-income families lived in areas of 20 to 29 percent Total families w/children with 8,105 10,559 +30%poverty in 1980 than ten years earlier. However, below-poverty incomes40 percent more poor families lived in more living in areas with:densely poor areas, the 30 to 39 percent tracts. 0-19% poverty 1,977 2,238 +13.2%The greatest increase came in the areas of mostextreme concentration, tracts with at least 40 20-29% poverty 2,279 2,217 -2.7%percent of families in poverty. Nearly 80 percent 30-39% poverty 2,105 2,979 +40%more low-income families lived in such areas in1980 than in 1970. Poor families in these areas 40% and greater poverty 1,744 3,125 +79%represented almost a third of all poor families inOakland. Source: 1980 U.S. Census; Association of The table also indicates a more promising Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Cedar data basetrend: the number of poor families living outside 19
  • 21. Family Poverty, 1980 (>30% of all families with childrenunder 18living below poverty) Elmhurst San Antonio Chinatown/Central Areas of Poverty-Existing Since 1970 - Areas of Poverty-New (after 1970)one family in three lived in these areas. The pro- 0 high rates of unemployment and non-portion of families with children living in areas participation;of extreme poverty jumped from 9 percent to 15.4percent during the same period. 0 a shift from well-paying to low-paying jobs; Isolation lies at the heart of persistent pov-erty. For families in Oakland, the risk is rapidly 0 generally decreased earnings capacity forgrowing. workers with inadequate skills and no college degree;C. Labor Force Disadvantages 0 wide disparities between the earningsLabor force disadvantages now faced by a gen- capacity of men and women; anderation of Oakland workers are reflected by thefollowing trends: 0 a comparatively smaller pool of fully 21
  • 22. employed Black men than men from other are typically forming families. ethnic groups. For most ethnic groups, young adults typi- cally have a hard time finding steady work, but In examining the potential risk for persistent their job prospects improve dramatically as theypoverty, we concentrate in this section on the reach their late twenties and early thirties. Dur-labor force status of adults between 20 and 34 ing 1980, non-participation among white andyears old - hereafter referred to as "prime-aged" Hispanic men was halved between the 20- to 24-- because they represent the young parents of year-old and 25- to 34-year-old age groups.the current generation of children. For many Asian and Pacific Islander males (whose experi-prime-aged workers, the current labor force ences vary among ethnic groups) saw an overallpicture presents great uncertainty about their decrease in non-participation of about two-ability to support a family. thirds. For Black men, however the decrease in labor force non-participation in their twenties and thirties was modest -a reduction of only six percent, as seen in the table.1. Non-Participation and Rates of non-participation by women in the Unemployment labor force are much higher than for men, as theThe unemployment rate for all of Oakland table indicates, and an ethnic pattern similar toaveraged about 9 percent in 1986, but it varied that of the male unemployment picture emerges.widely by race, age, and gender - particularly for White and Asian and Pacific Islander prime-agedprime-aged people of color. Table 2-4 shows women experience lower rates of non-participa-these trends based on the 1980 Census. tion over time than Black and Hispanic women. Black males aged 20 to 34 were unemployed Hispanic women have the highest non-participa-at rates three times higher than white males of tion rates overall. It is important keep in mind,the same age, who have the lowest rates of however, that many more Black women in thisunemployment. Prime-aged Native American age group are heading families than women frommales had twice the level of unemployment aswhite males. While unemployment among 20- to34-year-old Hispanic males was much higherthan it was for whites, it was still about half the Table 2-4: Unemployment Rates forrate for same-age Black males. Unemployment Prime-Aged Adults in Oakland in 1980among Asian and Pacific Islander males wasmuch closer to the levels among whites. Prime- 20- to 24-year-old 25- to 34-year·oldaged women experience sirniliar unemployment Men Women Men Womentrends across ethnic groups It is important to note than unemployment Black 28.7 18.6 17.3 9.8rates only count workers temporarily outside the 15.6 Hispanic 17 8.7 8.3workforce. Not reflected are the persistentlypoor adults who may remain out of work for Asian & 10.4 5 6 4.9extended periods - often months or even years. Pacific IslanderTable 2-5 on the next page shows the percentagesof prime-aged men and women who did not White 9.4 7.5 5.3 5.2participate in the labor force at all during 1980. SourC$: 1980 U.S. Census, STF 48Again, the rate of non-participation is highestamong Blacks at a time in their lives when they 22
  • 23. require more education, pay less, and have made it harder for both displaced and entry-level Table 2-5: Non-Participation Rates for workers to find employment and achieve in- comes sufficient to escape poverty. Prime-Aged Adults in Oakland in 1980 Table 2-6 illustrates changes in Oaklands 20. to 24-year-old 25- to 34-year-old occupational structure for employed Black and Men Women Men Women Hispanic men and women compared to total workers between 1970 and 1980. (Note: The Black 23.3 39.2 17.4 30 reader is reminded that the most recent, detailed data on employment and occupational trends for Hispanic 21 48.7 11 .6 43.6 Oakland are only as current as the 1980 Census Asian & 32.7 31.8 11.4 25 and that in most cases trends are estimated to Pacific Islander have continued. Also, data for Asian-Americans and Native Americans were not available for White 20.8 25.8 9.1 21 .6 1970.) For Oakland as a whole, the trade-off is Sourcs: U.S. Census 1980, STF 48 clear: white-collar employment increased by 7 percent during the last decade while blue-collar work declined by the same percentage. So-calledother ethnic groups. The high non-participation "pink-collar and service sector employment didrates of Black women in Oakland create the not change significantly during that time. How-greatest risks for children since they head fami- ever, the picture is different for workers of color.lies at twice the rate of Hispanic women and Black workers increased their proportion inthree times that of white and Asian women. the workforce from 29 percent to 40 percent from The deficits in education, training, and 1970 to 1980, and two major trends occurred. Onsupport experienced by the parents of todays at- the one hand, the number of Black professionalsrisk children may be replicated by the next increased by 150 percent, so that by 1980, one ingeneration of workers. The changing industrial five employed Black persons held a white-collarlandscape that has caught many prime-aged job. On the other hand, many blue-collar jobsworkers ill-prepared today may threaten their were lost and appear to be almost directly tied tochildren tomorrow. the increase in sales and clerical or pink-collar work (shaded area, Table 2-6). About 39 percent of employed Black persons2. Changing Occupational Structure held industrial jobs in 1970, compared to only 26As a result of recession and the widespread percent 10 years later. Most of these jobs weregrowth of high-tech industries in the Bay Areas held by men. The increase in pink-collar jobs didsuburbs, the manufacturing jobs that once prom- not make up for this loss, since most of these jobsised good pay and benefits to workers with few pay less and have fewer benefits. They are alsoskills and little education have rapidly dried up. mostly held by women.While many white-collar workers have fared well Among the Black employed, one in threein Oaklands industrial restructuring, perhaps held a sales or clerical job in 1980, whereas only ajust as many workers in other sectors have been quarter of working Blacks did in 1970. Thedisplaced or left out - particularly Blacks. The migration to lower-paying pink-collar workdominance of new occupations, particularly in amounted to a doubling in the sheer number ofthe service and so-called "pink-collar sectors Blacks in the sector and half of all such workers 23
  • 24. --·--·---- - ----- Table 2-6: Occupational Restructuring Percentages of Total, Black, &Hispanic Workers in 4 Employment Sectors in Oakland, 1970 and 1980 Total70 Total80 Black 70 Black 80 Hispanic 70 Hispanic 80 White-collar 32,224 42,169 4,440 11,166 2,018 1,822 (Professional, technical, 23.1% 29.5% 10.8% 19:3% 16.6% 15.2% management, administrative) Pink-collar 42,106 43,847 9;784 19,257 - 2,982 2,669 (Sales, clerical) 30.2% 30.7% 23=.8% 33.3% 23.6% 22.2% Blue-collar 42,761 33,674 15,902 15;277 5,238 4,817 (Craftspeople, laborers, operatives) 30.7% 23.4% 38.9% 26.4%· 41.7% 40.1% Services 18,432 21,539 8,418 11,438 1,608 2,476 13.2% 15.1% 20.6% 19.8% 12.75% 20.6% Source: 1970 U.S. Census, Tables 85, 86, 88, 92, 93, 98, 99; 1980 U.S. Census, Table 12, Report 3in Oakland. According to census data, there was fact that there was no significant increase in thea nine percent increase in the proportion of Black percentage of white-collar Hispanic workersworkers who held lower-paying jobs in just 10 suggests that the group did not substantiallyyears. benefit as much from the growth in that sector. This movement of so many workers from (Note: The criteria defining a person of Spanishblue- into pink-collar jobs during the late seven- origin changed in the 1980 Census; this changeties has had a profound impact on family income. makes it difficult to compare certain elements ofYoung adult workers and more experienced 1970 and 1980 Census data).workers displaced by plant closures increasingly In summary, the changing structure ofhad to tum to much lower paying employment available work benefited many professionals butin the pink-collar sector. According to the displaced untold numbers of manufacturingOakland Private Industry Counc.il s 1986 study of workers and younger entry-level workers. Manythe job market, the average hourly wage paid for were forced to work in lower-paying pink-collarentry-level pink-collar employees ranged be- and service jobs. The greatest increases cametween $4.90 to $5.93 an hour. The blue-collar among Blacks, whose employment in low-wageaverage wage range was about $5.47 to $9.50 an jobs increased by almost 9 percent in as manyhour. The difference is magnified by the lack of years. Clearly, the doubling of Black workershealth and other benefits provided for most pink- employed in white-collar jobs did not compen-collar workers. sate for the loss of industrial employment. Hispanic workers experienced less change There is mounting evidence that the currentbetween 1970 and 1980, except for an 8 percent trend especially impacts Hispanics and recentincrease in service employment. However, the immigrants from Central America and Southeast 24
  • 25. Asia who suffer, like many Blacks, from a lack of women in 1980. Such huge inequities are com-skills and education, but who also confront mon to all ethnic groups and all ages.language barriers and problems tied to uncertain These differences in earnings and incomeimmigrant status. Finally, there is no indication have serious consequences for families headedthat this trend has changed since 1980. by women. Not only do women workers make less than men in Oakland, but their earnings decline as they get older and more experienced.3. Earnings Capacity This is due in part to the jobs typically heldA 1980 analysis of mean annual earnings among by women. Women are still concentrated in low-Oaklands high school graduates working full paying occupations, such as clerical or service time compared to dropouts suggests that many work. In 1980, more than half (52 percent) of prime-aged adults are struggling against uncer- working women in Oakland held such jobs. tainty. Another reason is clearly discrimination. Data from the 1980 Census reveals that the According to a 1987 report by the Womens earning power of Black and Hispanic high school Economic Agenda Project, women are the leastgraduates does not appear to significantly in- unionized workers. Seven out of ten minimumcrease with age. Though dropouts typically wage workers are women. Increasing the earn-made less than working graduates, dropouts saw ings capacity of women to the level of mena steadier increase in earnings capacity as they would have profound effects in lifting familiesgained experience. This is important because out of poverty.workers expect that their earnings will increasewith experience and that their high school diplo-mas will boost their pay scales beyond non- 4. Marriageabilitygraduates. When younger workers see older Another indication of labor force disadvantagesworkers with high school degrees struggling is the pool of economically marriageable men-financially, the incentives that motivate people to defined as the number of males working full timestay in school or to continue in low-paying jobs per 100 females of the same age and racial group.may deteriorate. Though it is not a perfect measure, the index of It is gratifying to note that a college degree marriageability sheds light on how labor forcesubstantially increases earnings capacity. While disadvantages affect single-parent families. It as-some college experience was correlated to higher sumes that the more males of marriage age areearnings among workers of all ages, ethnicities holding down full-time employment, the lowerand genders, those with a degree still made will be the rates of single-parent, female-headedsignificantly more. households. Several studies have provided Women still make much less. For women in support for this assumption. In Oakland, (as inOakland, the earnings capacity is even more many large cities), marriageability is lowest andbleak and the consequences more severe for the proportion of female-headed families isthose heading families. For example, the mean highest among Black adults.annual earnings for 25- to 34-year-old women Figures from the 1980 Census show rates ofwith a high school diploma was $11,426 in 1980. economic marriageability for four prime-agedFor men of the same age and schooling the figure groups. For every one hundred 25- to 34-year-was $14,315, or 20 percent more. The difference old women of Spanish origin there were 72 same-is the same for more educated workers. Among aged males working in full-time jobs. For whites25- to 34-year-old college educated Blacks, for (including some of Spanish origin) the mar-instance, men earned 24.5 percent more than riageability rate was 65 males per 100 women; 25
  • 26. among Asian and Pacific Islanders the rate was59. But only 45 Black males in the age groupworked full time in 1980. (Note: marriageability Table 2·8: Public Assistance in Oakland,data for Native Americans were not available for 1980-19861980.) 1980 1986 IncreaseD. Welfare Recipiency Total cash recipients 49,904 52,785 5.8%The combination of poor education, unemploy-ment and constraints on two-parent family AFDC recipients 44,726 49,872 11.5%formation leads many single mothers and theirchildren into an almost inescapable dependence *AFDC includes family group and unemployed programson public welfare payments. Table 2-7 shows the labor force status of Source: Alameda County Social SeNices Agency dataBlack female householders in Oakland for 1980,indicating two significant trends. First, manyBlack single mothers work, but their unemploy- has accompanied Oaklands increase in povertyment as a group is still higher than for other over the past two decades. Between 1970 andwomen. Because of the high proportion of 1980 the number of families receiving publicwomen in minimum wage jobs, many single assistance increased by 25.6 percent, from 12,330mothers in Oakland work full time yet still earn to 15A89. This growth in welfare recipiency hasless than the poverty level. Second, the propor- continued throughout the 1980s.tion of Black single mothers who are not in the In 1986, according to Alameda Countylabor force at all is almost as great as those who welfare statistics, 52,785 people in Oaklandare. received cash public assistance. Table 2-8 shows Many- but not all- single mothers outside that this represents a 5.8 percent increase. Ifthe labor force in Oakland receive some kind of recipients of Medi-Cal and food stamps arepublic assistance. Many single mothers within included, the number of welfare recipients inthe labor force also require assistance. Oakland totals 63,383. The increase among An increase in dependence on public welfare recipients of AFDC alone, about 75 percent of whom are single mothers, was 11.5 percent. Using 1980 Census data, we can see how public assistance recipiency breaks down for Table 2-7: Labor Force Status of Black families of different ethnic groups in Oakland. Female Householders in Oakland in 1980 Thirty-two percent of Native American families received some public assistance income in 1980, Number Rate/Percent the largest rate for any ethnic group. Twenty- eight percent of Black families and 18.2 percent of Employed 8,034 Hispanic families received assistance. Among Asian and Pacific Islanders, 12.6 percent of Unemployed 1,080 11.8 (rate) families received assistance, and 7.5 percent of Not in labor force 7,283 44.3 (percent) white families. Cash welfare assistance is provided to about Source 1980 U.S. Census, STF 48 15 percent of Oaklands population, less than the total number in poverty. The dilemma of the 26
  • 27. working poor on the one hand, and the problems with other factors has created unprecedented of getting eligible families to programs are numbers of poor female-headed families in illustrated by the 1980 Census, which found that Oakland. One contributing factor for Black over one-third of the families receiving assistance families may be the small pool of economically had incomes above the official poverty line and marriageable men aged 25 to 34. that barely half (51 .5 percent) of families below In the next two chapters the focus turns to the poverty line received assistance. the infants, children, and youth themselves, (Areas of Oakland in which welfare recipi- revealing a pattern of risk that unnecessarily ency includes at least half of all families with threatens so many young lives in Oakland. children under 18 is shown in one of several removable maps on the back cover.) The direct costs of the welfare system to local government are enormous. Even thoughbenefits are small (for example, AFDC recipientscurrently receive abut $194 monthly per personfor a family of three), Alameda County spendsover $200 million annually for welfare programs,including about $130 million for Oakland resi-dents. Summary: Factors that put Oaklands in-fants, children, and youth at risk for persistentpoverty begin with the environments where theylive and the opportunities available to their adultparents. Family poverty has increased since1970, especially among those families headed bysingle women. Today, the poor are more concen-trated and isolated from people and institutionsthat connect families to information, employ-ment, and services. Poverty among prime-aged adults hasbecome a story of chronic labor force disadvan-tages and increased single-parent families. Un-employment has remained high and significantnumbers of people of color are out of the laborforce altogether. When work is found, todaysjobs often require more skills for less pay. Full-time employment no longer guarantees a stableearnings capacity and a high school diploma hasless value than it did 10 years ago. The newurban landscape in which many entry-level andformer manufacturing workers seek jobs, im-poses its greatest hardships on women of colorand Black men. The consequence of labor force disadvan-tages among adult men and women combined 27
  • 28. - - - - ----------------- - Chapter 3: Infancy and Childhood Poor wome~ are more likely to have small babies at risk for phystcal, mental, and learning disadvantages . ·.A. Health is: poor babies are dying needlessly.In Oakland, as in central cities across this coun- The infant mortality rate (deaths of infants try, poor health encumbers the lives of people :ho are born alive but die during the first year of trapped in persistent poverty. From birth, and life per 1,000 live births) is used throughout the even before, the poor often do not receive the world as an indicator of a nations overall health, care necessary for a healthy beginning. reflecting the economic, educational, and social Oakland is a regional center for the health well-being of a society. The United States, withcare industry. As home to a complex of hospitals an infant mortality rate of 10.7, currently ranksand medical institutions, Oakland offers sophisti- sixteenth in the world.cated, modern medical care for much of the East Infant mortality in Oaklands poor neighbor-Bays populace. - hoods s~ars above the national rate. For the past But numerous North and West Oakland decade, mfant mortality in Oakland has been aneighborhoods - and every single census tract in public concern, largely because of the 1978East Oakland -have been designated as "medi- discovery that neighborhoods in East Oaklandcally underserved areas" by the U.S. Department had an extremely high infant mortality rate, 26of Health and Human Services. This designation deaths per 1,000 live births.is based in part on the prevalence of poverty, the To counteract this infant death trend, the~hortage of primary care physicians, and high California Department of Health Services initi- ated the Oakland Perinatal Health Project inmfant mortality rates. 1979, which allocated funds to support commu- nity-based programs providing comprehensive1. Infant Deaths prenatal care to residents of Oaklands poorBabies born into poor families face greater risks neighborhoods. Largely because of this three-of mal~utrition, infectious disease, and perma- year effort, the infant mortality rate in Eastnent disorders than those born into families with Oakland was reduced to 16.5 per 1,000 live births?Teater resources. But the grimmest results of by 1982.Impoverished infancy are the infant deaths Since then, however, the infant mortalitywhich occur all too frequently. The simple fact rate for Oaklands poor neighborhoods has
  • 29. remained high. Table 3-1 shows the 1981-84three-year average infant mortality rates forOaklands high risk neighborhoods. During the Table 3·2: Infant Mortality Rates,same period, the Alameda County rate averaged Alameda County 198510.0. Per 1000 Live Births These seven low-income neighborhoods areamong ten Health Planning Areas in AlamedaCounty that have been identified as high-risk" ~ Neighborhoods • Ethnlclty - California Ratedue to high rates of infant mortality. There are atotal of 37 Health Planning Areas in the whole 20county. 152. At Greatest Risk 10 -----r-~~~---Black babies born into poverty are at the greatestrisk. In 1984, the latest year for which complete 5statistics are available.~ the Black infant mortalityrate in Alameda County was 17.5. The rate was High· Non- Black Non-Blackthe highest in the county for any populations and Risk High-Risk136 percent higher than the non-Black rate. And Black childbearing families are concen-trated in Oakland. Although only 23 percent ofthe countys childbearing women live in According to statistics from the AlamedaOaklands poor neighborhoods, 64 percent of all County Health Care Services Agency, the infantBlack childbearing women live there. More than mortality rate in the high-risk neighborhoods ofone-third of all births to Black women were Alameda County averaged 13.9 from 1978 toamong residents of three East Oakland high-risk 1984. This rate was 59.8 percent greater than inneighborhoods. the remaining parts of the county. Even among the disadvantaged, Black infants fared worse. In the same period, 1978 to 1984, the average Black infant mortality rate was 79.3 percent higher than the rest of the county. Table 3-1: Infant Mortality Rates in High-Risk These disparities are not subsiding. Table Neighborhoods in Oakland, 1981·84 3-2 shows group differences in infant mortality rates for 1985. High-risk neighborhood 1981·84 Infant mortality rate 3. Dangers of Low Birthweight North Oakland/Emeryville 15.7 Though sad and disturbing, infant mortality is North Broadway . 14.3 only part of a larger problem: low birthweight. West Oakland 18.3 Nationally,low birthweight babies (less than Highland 10.9 five and one-half pounds at birth) account for East Oakland I 15.0 fully three-fourths of infant deaths within the East Oakland II 17.5 first year. But most low birthweight babies live, East Oakland Ill 13.5 Alameda County 10.0 and they are at risk from the beginning. In addition to risking death, they risk long stays in neonatal intensive care, recurring physical 30
  • 30. problems, mental disability, learning disabilities, Poverty and Low Birthweight. In the countys child abuse, and a host of other disadvantages. high-risk poor neighborhoods, over 10 percent of Of all infants born in Alameda County, all births are low birthweight. Among Black about seven percent are low birthweight. This births, the incidence of low birthweight is even proportion has remained constant over the past higher, over 13 percent in 1985. This represents decade. Among certain subgroups, however, the nearly twice the rate in the county as a whole and proportions of low birthweight babies are much more than twice the rate for whites, Asians and higher. Hispanics. This higher rate of Black low birth- Teen Parents and Low Birthweight. In 1985 in weight contributes greatly to Alameda County·Alameda County, 3.2 percent of all births were to having the highest rate among 38 counties teens 17 or under. Among Black births, 7.2 per- ranked in California. As Table 3-3 shows, the cent were in this age group. There are 13 census incidence of low birthweight among Black births tracts in West and East Oakland combined in in Alameda County has increased since 1980. which over 9.5 percent of all births were to teens. Small infants are not only at greatest risk of (See maps in the Appendix for location of those dying, but, for those infants that live- and the tracts). Teenagers are at great risk of having low majority do - the mental and physical disabilities birthweight babies. In fact, 5 percent of all low that they suffer and the expense of caring for birthweight babies in the county were to teens them takes an immense toll on families and the under 18. community. In addition to the observable dis- Continued on page 34 Table 3-3: Low Birthweight Babies, Alameda County, 1980-1986 - - - Blacks -1- All Births Percentage of all births 14 .-----~----------------------------------------------~ 12t~--------------------------- 10 1- 6 1- 4 r- 2 r- 0 I I I I 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 31
  • 31. - -- -- -· ----~--A Healthy BabyAllison Mays-Reed, holding her three-week- Medi-Cal, Allison could not find a privateold son asleep in her arms, recalls an earlier doctor in Oakland who would receive herpregnancy that ended in tragedy. 1t was that late. Allisons younger sister had success-supposed to be my second to last visit before fully delivered through the YWCA PerinatalI delivered," Allison remembers. 1lay down Clinic and recommended it to her. The Y onon my side and the doctor checked me out Webster Street offers comprehensive obstetricwith his hands. But he checked too long. care to women up to the 30th week of preg-When I turned over, I saw that his face was nancy. Care at theY also includes healthbeet red. When did the baby last move? he education, nutrition counseling, and psycho-asked me. It moved today/ I told him. He social evaluation. In addition, the Y offerssent me for a sonogram. But it showed noth- clinics in teen pregnancy, family planninging. The baby was dead." and well-baby care, as well as counseling on The fetus had been struck suddenly by drug abuse, housing, and domestic violence.an infection. 1 had just turned 20-years-old The program is part of a system calledwhen it happened, and it took me six years to "Perinatal Outreach". Highland Hospital,decide to try again/ says Allison. 1 was contributes doctors and midwives to countydetermined to bring something home this and community clinics in Oakland, such astime." the Y, which provide additional services to At the time of her first pregnancy, Alli- patients. Nearly all of the patients at theYson, a graduate of Oaklands Fremont High are poor and considered high- risk in theirSchool, was married and had attended potential for negative birth outcomes.Alameda College for a year and a half. She "I started at the Y in the latter part of myleft her fashion merchandising studies in fourth month/ Allison says. "I loved it." Atorder to work full-time in a boutique. With first she was seen twice a week by certifiedher insurance coverage, she was able to nurse-midwives and physicians at Highlandafford the care of a private physician. Hospital, as well as by the watchful eye of Both pregnancies, her tragic first and the public health nurse Judy Klein. "The preg-second which gave her Kyle Anthony, in- nancy was going fine until the seventhvolved sudden and devastating complica- month. Then, all hell broke loose/ saidtions. By the time Allison became pregnant Allison.for the second time, she had remarried but Allisons glucose test, which detects ges-was no longer working and didnt have tational diabetes, indicated that Allison hadinsurance. Having spent the first four become diabetic during the pregnancy. Hermonths of her pregnancy in Riverside, Alli- sugar level was unbalanced, with the babyson and her husband returned to Oakland receiving the spillover.where they stayed with her mother and "I was admitted to Highland Hospital ingrandmother in the San Antonio section. January for what ... turned out to be a five- Fourteen weeks pregnant and receiving 32
  • 32. and stress during that seventh month were the support of her family and her interest in learning all there was to know about gesta- tional diabetes. She and her husband partici- pated in the Lamaze natural childbirth classes. They heeded the nutritionists direc- tions. The whole family took care in making sure that the shopping was done, that food was prepared just right, and that Allison would always have transportation once a week to the Y and twice a week to Highland Hospital for stress tests. Meanwhile, Allison read. "I read everything I could get my handsAllison with Kyle Anthony on," Allison recalls. "I was insatiable. I wanted to know what was the deal. Could Iday stay," says Allison. breastfeed? Was the insulin affecting Kyle Suddenly the pregnancy became a night- physically? Mentally? I knew it was affect-mare. Allison, who expresses a great fear of ing me."needles, was diagnosed as a class B diabetic, In the middle of the 37th week, Allisonswhich among other things meant that she doctors decided to induce labor. Allison de-would have to inject herself with insulin scribes another series of bell-curve pains: tentwice a day. hours at a time for three days. But there was Maintaining the regimen at horne meant no dilation, and the last of her fears had comeshopping more carefully, cooking differently, true. She had to have a Caesarean section.and changing the schedule of meals, as well On Saturday, March 21 at 11:19 a.m., Kyleas taking the injections. The entire family Anthony Reed was born, six pounds and onewas involved. They were supportive, but ounce.scared. "He wasnt supposed to scream," Allison There is "a phenomenal difference" recalls, with her healthy infant in her arms.between a high-risk pregnancy, such as "But the moment he was born, he screamed!"Allisons, and a normal one, according to Kyles lungs were fine. "And I went toJudy Klein at the Y. "A high-risk pregnancy sleep."costs a lot more financially. But not only that, Judy Klein, who is still in close touchthere are also costs in terms of the toll it takes with Allison, looks back warmly on heron the body as well as psychological costs," clients success. "She spent her entire preg-she explains. nancy making sure that this baby was going Allisons prime defenses against the fear to live," Judy recalls. "She worked very, very hard at it. She did a good job." 33
  • 33. Continued from page 31 to improve birth outcomes. For years the medi-abilities, such as cerebral palsy and lifelong cal literature has confirmed the success of earlylearning problems, a low birthweight baby born comprehensive prenatal care in increasing birth-into a poor family puts an even greater strain on weight and decreasing infant mortality. Tablesthat family. Divorce rates and child abuse are 3-4 and 3-5 show the greatly increased risk ofhigher among families of low birthweight babies. dying or being born at a low birthweight amongHighly associated with poverty to begin with, the Californias newborns whose mothers receivedeffects of a low birthweight birth in a poor family no prenatal care. Identification of high-riskserve to perpetuate the spiral of poverty. populations and the provision of comprehensive prenatal care to those groups has drastically4. Improving Services reduced appalling low birthweight and infantThere is no mystery concerning what is needed mortality rates. When the proper care has been Table 3-4: Newborn Death Rates in California by Entry Into Prenatal Care, 1983 Newborn Death Rate* 60 D No Prenatal Care 1st Trimester Entry Into Prenatal Care 0 White Hispanic Black Asian*n *Newborn (neonatal) death rate is per 1,000 live births. Newborn deaths refer to those occuring in the first 28 days of life. **Asian includes Japanese, Rlipino, and Chinese. Source: State of California, Depattment of Health Services, Table 83P-8AB. Taken from Back to Basics, a Report of the Childrens Research Institute of California and the Southern California Child Health Netowrk, 1986. 34
  • 34. available here in Oakland, we have had healthier tients for prenatal care and delivery. In Oakland,babies. there are only five or six. But access to prenatal care for many women According to a 1987 report prepared by thecontinues to be a problem of crisis proportions. Alameda County Health Care Services Agency,In all of Alameda County, there are only 17 20 percent of women in the county did not beginprivate obstetricians who accept Medi-Cal pa- prenatal care during the first trimester of their Table 3-5: Low Birthweight Babies in California by Entry into Prenatal Care, 1983 Percentage of Babies Born at Low Blrthwelght 40% No Prenatal Care 1st Trimester Entry Into 30% Prenatal Care 20% 10% 0 WMe Hispanic Black Asian* • Asian inlcudes Japanese, Filipino, and Chinese. Source: State of California, Department of Health SeNices, Table 83P-8AB. Taken from Back to Basics, a report of the Childrens Research Institute of California and the Southern California Child Health Network, 1986. 35
  • 35. pregnancy. And the incidence of last trimester or The study followed the preschoolersno prenatal care at all were highest among Black through age 19 and compared them with similarand Asian women (1 0 percent) and Hispanic youngsters who had not had the early preschoolwomen (9 percent). Iri the Health Planning Areas experience. The results displayed in Table 3-6in West Oakland and in parts of East Oakland, 12 were that those who attended preschool gener-percent or more of the women giving birth ally did better in schooC were less likely to bereceived only last trimester or no prenatal care. arrested, and had stronger employment records. And there have been increasing demands Specifically by age 19, twice as many non-pres-placed on the maternal and infant health services choolers had been arrested; one-third more non-provided by the community-based clinics. In the preschoolers had dropped out of high school; 48decade from 1977 to 1986, the number of births in percent of the preschoolers were currently em-Alameda County increased each year, from ployed as opposed to 29 percent of the non-14,280 to 19,564. By 1986,37 percent more births preschoolers; and 45 percent of the preschoolersoccurred than in 1977. were supporting themselves through their own This situation will not improve without a or their spouses incomes while for the non-commitment by the community to take those preschoolers 24 percent were. In short a qualitysteps necessary to prevent low birthweight and preschool education appears to be one keyresulting infant deaths, disease, and lifelong ingredient in breaking the cycle of poverty.disabilities. Yet, in Oakland, most poor minority chil- dren do not have access to quality preschool edu-B. Education cation. The Alameda County Social Services Agency estimates that as of August 1987 thereAs mentioned earlier, one of the possible conse- were just under 11,500 two- to five-year-olds inquences of low birthweight can be learningdisabilities. Low birthweight, however, is only Oakland receiving AFDC all of whom would benefit from preschool education. Since there areone of the many factors that contribute to low many poor children in Oakland who do noteducational achievement in poor communities. receive AFDC, one can assume that the total number of poor two- to five-year-olds could be1. Preschool Education greater.Despite widespread acceptance of the benefits of But for these children the opportunities topreschool education for poor children, access to receive preschool education are few. Oaklandpreschool education for the poor in Oakland is Head Start, this year, is serving approximatelyvery limited. 600 three- to five-year-olds. The Oakland Uni- For many years early childhood education fied School District has a preschool program thatscholars and practitioners have argued that serves 505 three- to five-year-olds, 414 of whomquality preschool education is an essential ingre- are AFDC recipients. Subsidized childcare pre-dient for elementary school achievement, par- school programs provide services to about anticularly for poor minority children. The Perry additional2,700 from ages two to five. Many ofPreschool Program in Ypsilanti, Michigan was those children in preschool and childcare settingsthe focus of an inlpressive study which docu- are having exceptionally strong developmentalmented the positive educational and life benefits experiences. Oakland has many fine programsthat could be traced to that preschool experience. for preschoolers. Nonetheless, with a minimumThe study found that in addition to p erforming of 11,500 poor children needing preschool educa-better in kindergarten, those who went to pre- tion, less than 4,000 are receiving it. Clearly,school also fared better as young adults. there is an unmet need that numbers in the 36
  • 36. - - · - -- - -· Table 3-6: Benefits of Preschool Education for Low-Income ChildrenDelinquency findings -Arrested by age 19:for every 100 with preschool 22for every 100 with no preschool 43Education Findings -Years in special education, during elementary school (K-1 2):those with preschool 1.8 yearsthose with no preschool 3.8 yearsDrop out of high school:for every 100 with preschool 35for every 100 with no preschool 55Attend college or job training courses:for every 100 with preschoolfor every 100 with no preschoolEmployment FindingsCurrently employed: - 38 21for every 100 with preschoolfor every 100 with no preschoolSelf supporting: - 48 29for every 100 with preschoolfor every 100 with no preschool - 45 25Source: Findings of High/Scope Educational Research Foundation Longitudinal Study of the Perry Preschool Program inYpsilanti, Michigan. Taken from: Preventing Unemployment: A Case for Early Childhood Education, a report of the FutureEmployability/Early Childhood Development Task Force, Minneapolis Community Business Employment Alliance, December,1985. 37
  • 37. thousands. 23 elementary schools in Oakland that had 20 percent or fewer AFOC recipients. In these 232. Elementary School Education schools combined, the average level of AFOCMany poor children attend elementary schools in recipiency is 7.7 percent; the average Blackwhich most of the other students are also poor. enrollment is 42.5 percent and Hispanic enroll-Many of these children are doing very well. ment is 7.4 percent. The total number of studentsMany others are not. enrolled in these schools is 7,634. Of these 23 One measure of school achievement used by schools, all but four demonstrated consistentthe Oakland Unified School District is the Cali- average scores above the district average for thefornia Assessment Program (CAP). This test, third and the sixth grade for the years 1984, 1985,designed and administered by the California and 1986. Four schools did not demonstrate thisState Department of Education, measures the consistent above-district performance.effectiveness of curricula and instructional pro- These findings portend a future for poorgrams of schools in local school districts. The test children attending predominantly low-incomeis administered to students in grades 3, 6, 8, and schools which puts them at extreme risk for12. The areas tested are reading, mathematics, dropping out, entering the work force with in-and written expression. adequate skills and resultant persistent poverty. According to the Profiles of the schools pub-lished by the district, there are 51,021 students 3. Middle and Junior High Schoolsenrolled in the Oakland public schools. The The trend in middle and junior high schoolsschool population is 12.2 percent Hispanic, 9.7 follows that of the elementary schools, but thepercent white, 61.8 percent Black, 15.8 percent demarcations are more severe. For 1986-87,Asian, and 5 percent other. Students receiving Profiles are provided for 15 of 16 middle andAFOC total 43.1 percent. There are 21 schools junior high schools. Of the 15, seven have stu-with elementary grades in the Oakland Unified dent enrollments that are over 60 percent AFOCSchool District in which the proportion of AFOC recipients. The remaining eight include tworecipiency among students is above 50 percent. schools with over 40 percent AFOC enrollment,The enrollment for all but two of those schools is two with between 20 and 25 percent, and theover 70 percent Black. other four with less than 20 percent. Of the seven The average level of AFOC recipiency at junior high schools in which over 60 percent ofthese schools combined is 70.5 percent; the the students receive AFOC, six are over 80average level of Black enrollment is 82.9 percent; percent Black and one has an enrollment that isand the average level of Hispanic enrollment is 60 percent Black and Hispanic combined. At all15 percent. The total number of students en- seven, the CAP scores are well b elow the districtrolled in these schools is 12,780. (This number average on every measure for the years 1984includes 1,429 students from middle schools that through 1986.include many seventh and eighth graders.) In 14 At the four middle and junior high schoolsof these 21 schools, the CAP scores for all three in which the AFOC recipiency is less than 20tests - reading, written expression, and mathe- percent, all score above the district average,matics - all fell below the district average in except for one in which the scores fall above andyears 1984, 1985, and 1986 for the third and the below the district average. That one is 93 percentsixth grades. Seven schools were above the Black; the others are all less than 50 percentdistrict average, with three of these consistently Black. Again the pattern is that poor minorityabove. children going to predominantly low-income These CAP scores contrast sharply with the schools are not acquiring the basic skills that will 38
  • 38. lead to college readiness, skill readiness, and op- portunity. The underachievement of Oaklands chil- dren in elementary, middle, and junior high schools is a problem for all of Oakland. We must collectively develop strategies to improve educa- tional opportunity. When a poor child enters high school without a solid foundation the chances of high school underachievement and.dropping out are great. 39
  • 39. TutorialElementary and junior high school students dents up to speed, because many h::td troublein East Oakland are learning to believe in reading the scriptures. But due in part to thetheir academic abilities and getting help "quiet place for spirit" provided by Mrs.turning those beliefs into achievement. Calhoun and the other volunteers, Hi-Rise The Allen Temple Baptist Church is the now reaches beyond its denomination tosite for two very different tutorial programs, students from a wide range of schools acrossHi-Rise and Project Interface. While the the city.programs are separated by funding sources, "We just want to share with the chil-student eligibility rules, and different build- dren/ says Mrs. Calhoun. They bring usings, they are wedded by a common belief: their report cards or we get thank you callsall students can overcome educational ob- from teachers and thats our pay- the goodstacles with disciplined teaching. feeling within." Each Monday and Wednesday after- Located on the other side of the churchnoon, Mayisha and Rashida, two Oakland grounds and spread out over several class-third graders, can be found in the Sunday rooms, Project Interface, the result of collabo-school building where the Hi-Rise Tutorial ration between Allen Temple and the North-Program meets. Enrollment is open to any ern California Council of Black Professionalchild in kindergarten through sixth grade, Engineers, has a different mission.and students may come for free all year or The 65 seventh through ninth graders cur-whenever their grades require it. rently enrolled must be prepared every Mayisha and Rashida are regulars. Mrs. Monday through Wednesday afternoon toJulia Calhoun, the programs director for the come to a math and sdence program morelast five of its 16-year history, directs the girls highly structured than some schools. Projectto a study table. Still wearing their school Interface offers a unique chance for studentsuniforms, they come with their homework capable of doing college prep work in theand the knowledge that Mrs. Calhoun means sciences, but who are not.business. "We work with kids who could and They are happy to be there after schoot should be achieving at the college prepthe girls tell a visitor, as they break out their level," explains Dr. Ann Bouie Wilson, whophonics lesson without being told. They are has been the projects no-nonsense directorhappy to recite the difference between a con- since it was started in 1982. "All other pro-sonant and a vowel to one of three church grams work with kids who are alreadyvolunteers without being asked twice. But achieving. The kids here are underachievers.most of all, they are happy that the phonics So, were unique in that."lesson involves a lot of drawing with crayons. The students, however, do not remain Mrs. Calhoun and the rest of her staff are underachievers. A status report of ninthpleased to be there, too. The program began grade graduates of Project Interface showed .with the need to bring Sunday school stu- that among those who could be contacted 40
  • 40. four years later, 85 percent were enrolled in experience with high technology researchcollege prep classes and 40 percent were under way at the Harbor Bay Business Park.averaging "B" or above grades. According to Dr. Wilson, the key to In small, rigorous study groups taught progress among Project Interface students is aby paid college students, the kids who are challenging and disciplined study environ-referred to Project Interface rotate over time ment run by a well-prepared staff that canthrough math, chemistry, biology, and phys- maintain control. Teachers must also believeics classes. Among the other programs that their children can succeed.offered to students are a Saturday computer "What we try to do here is make learningclass, the role model/mentor series, counsel- fun," she explains. But we dont messing services, and frequent field trips and around, and we expect you to achieve. Weveawards. There is also a career education had pretty good success, and of course wevecomponent which allows students hands-on had our share of disappointments."_.... _ 41
  • 41. Fellowship Hall, where the Project Inter- to be a scientist one day. If Ian fulfills hisface classrooms are located, has the look of an potential and Project Interface accomplishes experimental school setting, complete with its mission, he will be one.sounding bells, giggling students, and adynamic principal, Dr. Wilson, who alter-nates between "Howre you doing today?"and "I thought we were going to think beforewe act, right?" In one room, eight students in a physicsclass learn the difference between force andacceleration. Down the hallway, a collegechemistry major takes votes on a densityexperiment: Will jelly sink or float whendropped into a flask of red liquid? In another classroom a few doors fromDr. Wilsons office, three instructors preparea biology experiment that will reveal theeffects of different solutions on plant growthafter four weeks of observation. A teacher explains the procedure: "Ev-eryone is going to get a piece of ivy." Like the one they use in the hospital?"asks a smart aleck. The teacher isnt fazed. Marcus and Ian,two seventh graders from different schools inEast Oakland, receive a small pot with soil, astem of ivy to plant, and a small containerwith a different liquid. Ian carefully poursyellow corn oil into his; Marcus pours bluefertilizer into his own. "What do you think will happen toyours, Ian?" asks the teacher. Mine will grow big and strong and killpeople/ Ian hypothesizes. · "Write that down," the teacher replies. The children are taught that scientistsmust record their predictions, no matterwhat. Ian writes it down, because he plans 42
  • 42. - - -- - - -- - - Chapter 4: Adolescence Life options are limited for Oaklands youth living in poverty.Adolescence, the prelude to adulthood, is the of their high school graduation status.critical time in young peoples lives when op-tions are discovered and courses are set. But for In this chapter, we will examine the school,too many of Oaklands teenagers, adolescence after-school, social, and work environments ofoffers few options and the course that is set adolescent life and show how the options for athreatens to be a life of continued deprivation. healthy and productive life are limited for manyThe scarcity of resources which encumber the of Oaklands at-risk youth.lives of infants and children in poverty hasconsequences for the young adult. A. Schoolo Forty-seven percent of Oaklands compre- 1. Skills hensive high school students live in families There are two Oaklands, separated from each receiving AFOC. other by income and race outside the classroom, and by achievement scores, dropping out, and0 A little more than a third of Oaklands college readiness inside the classroom. Child- seniors in comprehensive high schools take hood membership in the Oakland that remains the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for isolated from resources by poverty often gives college admission, but only one in nine goes rise to young adults at risk for poor skills, teen on to a four-year University of California or pregnancy, unemployment, low-paying jobs, California State University institution. welfare dependency, and persistent poverty. Like many inner city high school popula-0 One in three students drops out of high tions, the Oakland Unified School District is pre- school altogether. dominantly Black (64 percent). Forty-seven per- cent of all students live in homes receiving0 One in four teens out of school and in the AFOC. Table 4-1 shows the percentage of stu- labor force is unemployed, and about two- dents on AFOC compared to the percentage of thirds of out-of-school teens are not in the Black students for each of Oaklands six compre- labor force at all; in some areas of Oakland, hensive senior high schools. The schools with the all out-of-school youth are jobless regardless 43
  • 43. Table 4·1: Race and AFDC Recipiency Oaklands Six Comprehensive High Schools, 1986-87 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% Castlemont McCiymonds Oakland Fremont Oakland Skyline High Tech D % AFDC rJ1 %Black Source: Oakland Unified School District School Profiles, 1986-87highest percentages of poor Black students are for example, demonstrates steady progress andthe same schools with the lowest achievement the math scores at Oakland Tech stand out.scores across grades on the Comprehensive Test Income is probably more critical in definingof Basic Skills (CTBS). the two Oaklands than race, as revealed by a As Table 4-2 suggests, there are strategies comparison between Castlemont and McCly-which can improve this situation. Castlemont, 44
  • 44. ... -----·-··- -- -- - - Table 4-2: Oakland Comprehensive High Schools CTBS Achievement Data in Percentiles 1986-87 Academic Year 80%ile 70%ile 60%ile SO%ile 40%ile 30%lle 20%ile 10%ile Castlemont McCiymonds Oakland Fremont Oakland Skyline Tech High 9·12 grades 9·12 grades 9-12 grades 10-12 grades 10·12 grades 10·12 grades [ ·;·-j Reading Score Math Score (subsumes reading score)Source: Oakland Unified School District School Profiles, 1986-87 45
  • 45. mends at opposite ends of the flatlands and average by 57 and 84 points respectively. Unfor-Skyline in the hills. Most students from flatland tunately, the discrepancy would be a lot greaterareas leave high school with fewer academic skills were it not for the Skyline scores.than students who enter high school in the hills. Table 4-3 shows a comparison between McCly-The average student at Castlemont in East monds, Castlemont, and Skyline. First, "theOakland and at McClymonds in West Oakland is students from poor neighborhoods show aBlack (91.4 percent and 92.8 percent, respec- median combined SAT score about 29 percenttively) and lives in a family receiving AFOC (96.9 short of Skyline student scores. Second, the tablepercent and 97.5 percent). At Castlemont, s/he is indicates that the pool of students taking the testlikely to score close to the bottom third percentile is in a disturbing state of decline. At Castlemontrange in reading and writing during all four the number of students taking the SAT hasyears, with slightly higher scores in math. The decreased by 16 percent each year since 1983typical McClymonds student fares similarly. (two years), with only 14.1 percent of the seniorMany students at Skyline are Black (45.2 per- class taking the test in 1985-86. McClymonds hascent), but almost none comes from a family on experienced a decline of about half that much inAFOC (2.2 percent). The typical Skyline student the same period. Skyline, on the other hand, hasmaintains a steady academic course, testing well seen a net increase of more than 11 percent in theabove average in all subjects covered on the last two years.CTBS. Third, in a survey by the Oakland Alliance, As for grade equivalency, the average McClymonds and Skyline students topped theCastlemont student consistently performs at least list of schools with the highest percentage ofone year below grade level, every year, in every seniors predicting that they would go to four-subject. At McClymonds the average ninth year colleges or universities- 39.8 percent andgrader enters the school with an 8.3 grade read- 33.7 percent, respectively. Among the Skylineing level; four years later, that same student is seniors, 192 or 50.6 percent had taken the SAT. Atreading at only a 9.6 grade level. Writing prob- McClymonds, however, only 49 or 27.3 percentlems are even more severe. While entering had actually taken the test. There is an apparentMcClymonds with a written language grade mismatch among many McClymonds seniorsequivalency of 7.0, the average student theregraduates with a writing capability equal to alittle more than eighth grade. At Skyline, grade equivalency remainsconstant, since tenth graders enter with English Table 4-3: College Readiness (1985·86)and math skills at the 12.6 grade level and gradu- Combined median o/o of srs. % srs. saidate with the same level of proficiency. SAT score taking test theyd go to 4-yr. college2. College ReadinessOne example of diminished options flowing from Cast lemont 644 14.1 o/o 18.5%poor academic achievement is the degree of 27.3% 39.8% McCiymonds 654college readiness among low-income students inOakland. High school seniors interested in going Skyline 911 50.6% 33.7%to college must take the Scholastic Aptitude Test(SAT) as a major criterion for admission. The Source: Oak.Jand Unified School Distrid; State Department ofdistrict median on the verbal and math parts of Education Annual Report, 1986the test falls somewhat short of the national 46
  • 46. ·-·· -- -- - - - - - -- -regarding aspirations and the actions necessary outs, the typical dropout is Black or Hispanic,to realize them. changes schools frequently, and comes from a family with low socio-economic status and an absent father.3. Dropouts In addition, dropouts tend to exhibit earlyWhile failing to attend college can reduce life signs of detachment from school: they are pooroptions, the greater risk for diminished options is academic achievers, they are often absent ordropping out from high school altogether. In tardy for reasons other than illness, and theyrecent years, Oakland dropouts outnumber display behavioral problems for which they areseniors bound for four-year colleges about three- sometimes transferred to continuation or alterna-fold. The ongoing debate nationally and locally tive schools.concerning the definition of a dropout makes -Asked why they drop out, studies show aexact numbers hard to come by. However, there range of responses. Minority dropouts empha-is little disagreement over the fact that dropping size poor grades. But minority males cite eco-out is often a symptom as well as a cause of nomic reasons, while females report pregnancypersistent poverty. and marriage more frequently than white drop- The dropout rate for Oakland has not yet outs. Overall, dropouts report being bored andbeen definitively determined. A meaningful alienated by school.measure of how many students leave Oaklands Mobility. A major contributor to droppinghigh schools each year, however, can be ~sti­ out is mobility, frequent residence changesmated by comparing attrition rates compiled by resulting in transfers to other schools in orboth the state and private researchers, as well as outside the district. Mobility often creates theby looking at local mobility. kind of instability in a students academic life According to the State Department of Educa- which leads to dropping out. Low-incometion, attrition among Oaklands comprehensive students again stand the greatest mobility riskhigh school students stood at 42 percent in 19~5- because of tenuous housing circumstance, mov-86. The states figure merely calculates the ratlo ing from relative to relative, and other difficul-of tenth graders in 1982 who graduated three ties.years later, regardless of whether they had Like other factors contributing to persistenttransferred to schools out of the district, were in- poverty, mobility in Oakland is most acute institutionalized, or died. low-income neighborhoods. One index of mobil- By taking these and other personal reasons ity is the attrition rate for each schooL While theinto account, researchers in the Policy Analysis district-wide attrition rate among the six compre-for California Education program (PACE) at hensive senior high schools was 42 percent inBerkeley calculated a 33 percent rate of attrition June 1986, the two high schools in East Oakland,for the same school year, which they contend Fremont and Castlemont, have the highest rates:closely approximates a dropout figure. This 53.25 percent and 60.2 percent, respectively. Thisroughly coincides with an attrition rate of be- trend is illustrated in Table 4-4.tween 34 percent and 36 percent developed by How does dropping out relate to persistentresearchers for the Oakland Alliance. poverty? Dropping out puts one at a particular Given this range of figures, Oaklands high disadvantage in todays work force where em-school dropout rate may be estimated at more ployers have come to expect at least a high sc.hoolthan a third of each class. diploma. According to researchers at the Uruver- Who drops out? According to the High sity of California at Berkeley, the dropouts laborSchool and Beyond Survey of California drop- market disadvantage has long-term, often perma- 47
  • 47. nent effects. Dropouts experience higher rates of higher than among high school graduates.underemployment, unemployment, and non- Thirty-three percent of male dropouts wereparticipation than graduates. There are several unemployed, compared to 13 percent amongareas in Oakland where more than 70 percent of males with at least a high school diploma. Forall recent dropouts are either unemployed or out females, the disparity was much smaller, 20of the labor force altogether. Their younger age, percent compared to 17 percent.spotty work histories, lack of workplace norms, Despite the confusion over the definition ofand skills deficits make them a higher risk to a dropout, it remains clear that the poorest stu-employers and, in tum, put them at greater risk dents are at the greatest risk of dropping out andfor lifetimes in poverty. that, in turn, the lack of a high school diploma In 1980, the national unemployment rate puts a young adult at much greater risk foramong dropouts of all ages was considerably persistent poverty. While more is known about 100% - 90 - Table 4·4: Attrition by School, Class of 1985, Oakland Unified School District 80 - 70 - 60 - 6.0.2 50 - ~ 53.2 I~ . • ~i; 42% 40 - ~ 42.7 43.8 ~ ~<:· k I 40.5 ,· , I ~ I · I 30 - 20 - I ~~· ~ ..: ) " ~ ~ •, ~ I I I 18.2 10 - ,,. I I I Skyline Oakland MCCiymonds Oakland Fremont Castlemont District High Tech Attrition Rate Source: Oakland Unified School District Office of Research; State Dept. of Education Research Division, 1986 48
  • 48. who drops out than how many, somewherebetween one-third and one-half of all studentsdrop out of Oaklands high schools each year. Table 4-5: Oakland Unemployed Youth Aged 16 to 19 by Race and Gender, 19804. After School 16· to 19·year-oldDuring adolescent development, the hours spent Male Femaleafter school are often as important as the hours in Black 36.7% 31.5%school. Recreational outlets in the arts and sportsprovide avenues for creative exploration that Hispanic 27.5% 14.6%help teenagers define who they are. So doeshanging out. Asian/Pacific Islander 19.4% 13.3% Unfortunately, because there are few public Native American 60%or private resources available, teenagers inOaklands poorest neighborhoods spend more White 14.1% 13.5%time hanging out after school than testing them-selves in structured programs. The irony is that, Source: 1980 U.S. Census, STF 48while schools lock up gymnasiums after classhours for lack of supervised play, teenagersspend the evenings on unsupervised streets withall the attendant lures and dangers. rate for both male and female Black teens com- In West Oakland, for instance, McClymonds pares only to that of Hispanic males and is moreHigh School once offered a range of after-school than twice the rate for both male and femaleprograms; even the Parks Department structured white teenagers. Native American females,some youth activities. But in the aftermath of however, experienced astounding unemploy-Proposition 13 and the cutbacks that followed, ment in 1980. The rates for white, Asian, andthe vast majority of these programs ended. The Hispanic females are all comparable. AmongBoys Club stands virtually alone in trying to males, white and Asian teens both experienceprovide meaningful after-school activities for unemployment rates well below the overall maleWest Oaklands low-income children and youth. youth unemployment rate for the city of 27In recent times, however, enrollment has ebbed percent.as a result of the increased drug traffic thatthreatens the institution from the very corner on 2. Idlenesswhich it stands. More alarming than youth unemployment rates is the level of "idleness" - the combined percent-B. Work Experience age of out-of-school teens unemployed and notJoblessness among youth in Oakland follows the in the labor force- regardless of graduationsame pattern as poor birth outcomes and status.achievement deficits. It disproportionately affects The usefulness of the idleness index isthe poor - in particular, the Black poor. explained by comparing a youth who is unem- ployed to one who is out of the labor force alto- gether. The former is still a member of the civil-1. Unemployment ian labor force and may be only temporarily outTable 4-5 shows the unemployment rates for of work. The latter may never have worked or isout-of-school 16- to 19-year-olds by race and so discouraged or distracted by other activitiesgender, calculated from the 1980 Census. The 49
  • 49. that s/he has given up on the labor market. The with the failed expectations of a high schooltwo youths may have entirely different motiva- diploma which put young adults dangerously attions guiding them. But common to both is their risk for persistent poverty. Successfully makingidleness. Both are failing to make the critical the transition from school to work is one of thetransition from school to work. In many areas of critical developmental roadmarks in early adult-Oakland, the idleness of one youth is sure to hood.reinforce the idleness of another, and, like somany other aspects of adolescence, they serve as 3. Jobs and Job Trainingeach others examples. Thus, the idleness index is Entry-level jobs do exist for youth in Oakland,useful in showing us where the lines between but they demand a basic level of education andunemployed/ out-of-the-labor force and gradu- skills which are in short supply amongate/ dropout have blurred, and where the com- Oaklands youth in poverty. Furthermore,mon expectation for out-of-school youths be- training programs under the Job Training Part-comes joblessness. nership Act (JTPA), the major training source in The percentage of youths aged 16 to 19 who Oakland, must tum away the vast majority ofare out of school and either unemployed or not their applicants.in the labor force in Oakland presents a very un- According to a 1986 survey of businesses bysettling picture of job opportunities. Contrary to the Oakland Private Industry Council, approxi-the expectations of most analysts, the picture is mately 30,383 entry-level jobs open up each year.not much different for high school graduates in Seventy-seven percent of the jobs are replace-their first years out of school. These trends are il- ments, indicating a high rate of turnover; only 23lustrated in Table 4-6. percent were newly created positions. About In 1980, 5,349 or 25 percent of Oaklands 16- three-quarters are service-oriented jobs, whichto 19-year-olds were out of school. Among these require little skill and experience (e.g., cashiers,youths, a little more than half were high school guards, clerks, etc.). Wages are low, ranginggraduates and the rest were not. As seen in the from the minimum wage to about five dollars antable, more than half of each group- 52 percent hour. The firms hiring entry-level employees areof grads and 69 percent of non-grads - was idle.This suggests that the labor market advantage foryouths who have finished high school is rathermodest, at least in the immediate aftermath ofgraduation. Overall, only one in nine high Table 4-6: Teen Idlenessschool grads did better in Oaklands labor mar- Oakland Youths Aged 16 to 19 who areket than non-graduates. Out of School and Unemployed or As with each poverty indicator discussed so Out of the Workforcefar, these trends are concentrated in certainneighborhoods (the removable map showingextreme youth idleness may be found in the back Total out #Idle % Idle % offolder of this report). In 37 of Oaklands 104 of school all idlecensus tracts, 16- to 19-year-old high school gradu- H.S. graduates 2,891 1,497 51.78% 46.9%ates had higher rates of idleness than non-gradsduring 1980. In 11 census tracts, there was 100 Not H.S. grads 2,458 1,695 68.96% 53.1%percent idleness- that is, every out-of-schoolyouth, regardless of education, was jobless in Source: 1980 U.S. Census, ABAG Cedar data base1980. It is this lack of work experience coupled so
  • 50. small, averaging less than twenty workers. Sur- cent is estimated to have been turned away prisingly, the survey shows that most jobs are lo- because of failure to meet income eligibility. Five cated not in the downtown area, but near pre- hundred and eighty participants were youth. dominantly Black, low-income areas (e.g., West According to the 1980 Census, however, thereOakland, 30 percent, and Southeast Oakland, 37 were 7,988 16- to 21-year-old youth in poverty inpercent). But the survey also reports that em- Oakland - and many more near poverty whoployer expectations are high. Forty-one percent were also eligible for federally funded job train-of employers require at least a high school di- ing. Taking the number of youths in povertyploma; 35 percent required that entry-level alone (who represented less than half of youthworkers have at least some college experience. participants in 1986), we find that JTPA slots are Federally funded job training is provided for only available for about one in fourteen appli-Oaklands low-income youth through programs cants. While there are smaller job training pro-created under the Job Training Partnership Act viders in Oakland not under JTPA contract, they(JTPA). While JTPA programs are designed for are hardly enough to fill the large gap in servicesall age groups, about 43 percent of the programs available to low-income youth.are aimed at youth aged 16 to 21 and make upthe bulk of all youth job training programs in thecity. Three-quarters of the annual participants C. Teen Pregnancyare in the 16- to 19-year-old range; almost as Adolescent pregnancies may represent themany participants are Black, 69 percent, while a breakpoint for a child - male or female - who haslarge minority are Asian and Pacific Islander, grown up among all the limitations of poverty.22.4 percent. Few behaviors serve to limit the life options of As critical as the JTPA programs are in teenagers so severely, and few issues describe theproviding structured skills development for cycle of risks attached to persistent poverty soyouth both during the school year and the sum- accurately. In Oakland and across the country,mer time, JTPA is clearly unable to reach enough teenagers most likely to bear children before theyof the most disadvantaged youth. In 1985-86, tum 18live in poverty, lack basic skills, and areabout half of youth participants were still in high disproportionately Black.school, 42 percent were graduates, but only 10 The responsibility of parenting demands re-percent were dropouts. Only 10 percent of all sources which few adolescents possess. Teenageparticipants were female single parents, and their mothers are often poor achievers in school andrate of entering employment at the close of their lack basic skills. They have neither the job skillstraining was considerably lower than other nor the access to information necessary to signifi-female participants - 31.6 percent and 44.4 cantly better their socio-economic outlook. Duepercent respectively. A little more than half of to the age and unstable living arrangments ofthe total youth participants came from families these youth, their pregnancies and the care ofreceiving some kind of public assistance but their their infants are mired in risk. Because theirrate of employment was also much lower than pregnancies are often unplanned and the rela-non-welfare recipients- 31.2 percent and 42.7 tionships between teen parents are so tenuous,percent respectively. teen mothers are frequently alone. Finally, JTPA resources are simply stretched In Oakland, all of these trends are in evi-too thin to accommodate the number of appli- dence: poverty origins in unstable homes, lowcants. Of about 15,000 adult and youth appli- school achievement, dropping out with fewcants last year, only 1,335 or 8.9 percent were skills, joblessness and welfare dependency, pooraccepted into training programs; a mere five per- birth outcomes, and single-parent homes. 51
  • 51. According to data recorded by the East Bay percent report that relationship to the districtPerinatal Councils Adolescent Family Life attorneys office. Without legal paternity, at-Program (AFLP), which delivers support services tempts to make child support claims are frus-to approximately one-third of Oaklands teenage trated. The fathers involvement with the child-mothers, most teen mothers come from single- birth is extremely minimal: 31.1 percent. Fre-parent homes often characterized by poor rela- quently, their relationship to the mother hastionships with their mothers. Most of the house- ended by the time the infant is born. After givinghold heads are either unemployed (29 percent) or birth, only 11.6 percent of AFLP s teen mothersout of the labor force and receiving AFDC. Of reported a continued tie to the father.those who are employed, only 22 percent are At present there are few support mecha-skilled laborers. The teen mothers themselves in nisms to pull in the father and few programsthe AFLP caseload are generally described as which serve them. The scarce resources availablepoor achievers. It is estimated that four out of for teen pregnancy are devoted almost exclu-five do not finish high school. sively to teen mothers. The role of the father According to the Childrens Defense Fund, it remains largely unknown.is this combination of poverty and instability, Why a "tragedy?" Teen pregnancy is a tragiclack of basic skills, and the demands of a depend- reflection of lives which have been offered tooent infant which lead 85.2 percent of Black single few options for the future and which as a resultmothers under 25 to AFDC. of childbirth are all too often permanently dis- Why pregnancy? Teens get pregnant and abled. The dependence of a young child orhave children for a variety of reasons, few of children on a lone young, poor mother putswhich are well understood. Case managers with enormous strains on the parents ability to im-the AFLP contend, however, that many pregnan- prove poor academic and vocational skills.cies are accidental. Myths abound concerning Additionally, managing the demands of mother-pregnancy and birth control, with many girls hood may isolate a young mother from the accessthinking "it wont happen to me." Contrary to to information and contacts on which most jobpublic perceptions of teen promiscuity, most are seekers rely. The jobs she is capable of findinginexperienced and have sex very sporadically. often provide few if any benefits, pay below-Very few teens get pregnant in order to "hook a poverty level wages, and offer no childcare.man." And many case managers believe that the Unstable living arrangements, inadequate healthtendency for teen mothers to explain their deci- care, and lack of good nutrition further combinesion as a wish to have someone to love and who to induce young mothers toward dependence onloves them is more often an afterthought of the a web of public assistance. The world into whichpregnancy, rather than a plan. A prime incentive so many children of teenage mothers are bornfor some teen mothers to bear children once they seems mired in deficits, and the cycle continues.are pregnant may be that so many other girls But a teen pregnancy or birth need not be ahave done it. tragedy. Programs that provide support services Where are the fathers? Very few comprehen- to teens at this crucial stage have demonstratedsive studies have been conducted about the back- that coordinated approaches that are comprehen-grounds of teen fathers. AFLP records indicate sive and provide multiple services either directlythat they are usually not teens at all, ranging in or through networking with other agencies canage from about 19 to 24. Three-quarters of teen help young people to overcome the deficit of amothers report that the paternity of their infant pregnancy and reverse the downward spiralhas been established with the father. But only 19 toward persistent poverty. These same approaches have also proven successful in pre- 52
  • 52. n ting teenage pregnancies. The tragedy is thatveadequate resources are preventrng t h e maJon"ty . .·~Oaklands needy youth from obtaining these Table 4-7: Children Without Fathers at Homeproven services. . . and Poverty Levels, 1980 The concentration of births to teenagers m Total kids In #of those %of thoseOakland is shown on the removable map in the single parent in poverty In povertyback folder of this report. families Black 26,031 13,541 52%D. Role Models White 3,312 955 28.8%In Chapter 2 we discussed the growing numbersof poor families headed by women. The abs_ence Native American 244 30.1%of a father in the homes of so many poor childrenputs tremendous economic and social obstacles Hispanic 2,519 1,193 47.4%in the developmental path of adolescents. Economically, the low earnings capacity of Asian 781 352 45.1%single mothers and the high cos~s of ess~n.tial City Total 31 ,822 15,735 49.4%services present great difficulty rn sustamrng afamily. Among Blacks, female-headed families Source: 1980 U.S. Censusare just as likely to have incomes below povertyas not. Yet they comprise fully 80 percent of allpoor families. Adult role models for young adults also serve as Socially, adolescents who grow up without a a critical perspective on the future.male presence lack a critical reference point as Fully 38 percent of the single parents ofthey pursue their own senses of identity. The Oaklands poorest teens are themselves highexample set by absent fathers affects males and school dropouts. While there is no provenfemales alike, too often serving as a negative role. correlation between parents dropping out bear- More than a third of all Oaklands children ing children who ultimately drop out, there isand youth under 18lived in homes with no evidence that a horne environment where em-father present in 1980, as Table 4-7 indicates. phasis is put on educational achievement andAgain, the highest percentages for poor and non- discipline is fertile ground for student achievers.poor alike occur in Black households. About one The same is true for work experience. When thein four white or Hispanic children live in father- majority of adults at horne or in a teenagersless homes; only 11.8 percent of Asian youth do. immediate milieu either do not work at all orBut half of all Black children and youth live with engage in illegal profitrnaking, the incentives toone parent, and about half of those- slightly try other avenues shrink. When options seem somore than for all other groups- are poor. limited for poor adults, it is not surprising that Missing from the poor adolescents world is adolescents so eager to become adults seek outa diversity of positive role models. This chapter short-term, gratifying alternatives, such ashas touched on several primary areas of an pregnancy.adolescents day: school, after school, work A large part of the work necessary to recon-experience, sexual activity, and horne. In all of struct the life options of Oaklands teenagers inthese, the example of caring, supportive, and poverty demands not only sustained, well-knowledgeable adults helps adolescents to focus designed strategies to strengthen the institutionstheir interests and put their strengths in motion. where poor youth interact. It also m eans further 53
  • 53. developing the strong base of caring adult rolemodels whose experience and encouragementfacilitate the young persons implementation of aplan for life. 54
  • 54. .. --··---- - -- - - - --Three Futures Oaklands poorest neighborhoods are would require overcoming the tremendousbrimming with dreams and aspirations. For temptation of falling into a dangerous life ofmany of its teens, however, there is not easy money.enough faith in themselves and support from All three of these adolescents are learn-others to build that critical bridge between ing what it will take from themselves toreality and dreams. For some, like Katrina realize their dreams, step by step, whateverand Henry, the support of a few caring adults the obstacles. They are fortunate to haveis enough to help them realize their own found caring adult role models to help guidepotential and to take hold of options. But for them toward adulthood. As individuals eachothers, like James, turning dreams into real- is unique. They are among Oaklands finest,ity, even with help, will take time. and they can be found throughout its neigh- James Edwards, 21, is starting again, two borhoods.years after moving to Oakland and leavingbehind a legacy of fighting, hustling, andfailing in school. Succeeding hasnt been as James: Settling Down To A Chess Gameeasy as being bright, hes discovered, and afaster life still tempts him. But James wantsmore than the streets can offer him. Getting itwill be difficult. Then again, as James says,"Its difficult, you know, to grow up." For Katrina Washington, 18, an unex-pected pregnancy on top of an already diffi-cult horne situation proved to be a decisiveevent. The pregnancy destroyed what wasleft of her relationship with her mother andshe was asked to leave Oakland High onceshe began to show. Eventually, she had toleave home, too. Katrina was faced withgetting the medical care she needed to have ahealthy baby and the education and trainingshe would need to support that baby. Henry Mitchell, 18, is a gifted artist. Hedescribes his four sisters as "normal workingpeople," but two of his brothers are in prisonfor drug-related crimes; a third is "strug- When James Edwards first came to Eastgling." Nearly all of his male cousins had Oakland a few years ago with his family, hebeen in jail by the time they turned 18, and a immediately felt the sting of being an out-close friend was shot dead over drugs at 15. sider in a tough place and unemployedFinding and developing his artistic talents without a high school diploma. Many miles 55
  • 55. to summer school at Booth Memorial Center, childcare for Destiny. For all this, Katrina re-which provides a variety of services for ceived Booths outstanding teen parentpregnant teens. When she returned to Booth award last year. The inscription is simple:in the fall- then eight months pregnant- she "Dare to Dream."was referred to a case manager, DeborahMoutry. Henry: A Self-Designed Future "Katrina is a very remarkable person,"says Deborah who feels a special bond withKatrina, her very first client. "When shecame in she was depressed and at her lastwits." Weekly visits turned into twice weeklyand then frequent home visits. Katrinasbiggest problem revolved around her totallack of income and the difficulty she washaving in getting health coverage and socialservices. Both Katrina and Deborah nowlaugh about the constant ?bstacle~ theyhurdled together in secunng Med1-Cal andAFDC, which actually arrived after thebabys birth. "She helped me a lot, a wholebunch," Katrina recalls. When the child was born in October1986, Billy named her Destiny. WithDestinys birth, explains Deborah, th.ingslooked up for Katrina. Her affect d1d a total Henry tells of a pair of incidents in his East Oakland neighborhood that nearlyturnabout. Instead of complaining about changed him. In the first, he and a friendwhat happened, she was no longer the vic- stopped at a corner one night waiting for thetim. She was talking about future plans and light to change when cars began to pull up bywhat she could do for her baby. She askedabout everything," Deborah recalls. the curb. People got out with rolls of money Since then, Katrina graduated from in their hands mistaking Henry and hisMcClymonds High School after completing friend for dealers.credits at night. She worked last summer and "That was my greatest temptation," he recalls with a bit of a smile.now attends the local Healds College for sec-retarial skills. Billy has continued in his job, But because of the second incident, theand together they have saved enough to temptation didnt last. "One of my brothersmove into their own place and to provide caused our house to get shot up," says Henry. He recalls how the family moved carefully 57
  • 56. around the rooms for weeks afterwards. tery of the art room that revealed his excel-"That was bullets. Bullets! That was crazy. lence as well as his purpose.When you get involved in drugs, youre en- His works have won him severaldangering the lives of everybody around you. awards. His silk-screens of Paul RobesonIt really opened my eyes," says Henry. have garnered him first prize in both the While increased drug activity continued regional and national Boys Club art contest.to sweep up his brothers and friends, Henry In 1986 he was named the Oakland Boymade his way to the art room at the East of the Year.Oakland Boys Club. There his award-win- After graduating from Castlemont Highning silkscreens now adorn the walls. And it School, Henry applied to the Fashion Insti-was there in 1980 that Henry met Bill tute of Technology in New York and wasMayfield, the art director and current man- accepted, but chose not to go at that time.ager who simply calls himself a "young man Instead, he attends the College of Alameda,person." Henry recalls that he "never actu- majoring in apparel design. He dreams ofally knew anybody who could paint like Bill becoming a great designer one day.and wanted to try it." Henry is also reflective about many of Bill and Henry latched on to each other, the young guys around him, many of whomboth excited about the others talent. Bill have untapped talent, he says. "They wantopened the world for Henry and the other the money now, not to go to school for an-boys by taking them on trips to museums and other two to four years/ he says. "Theystudios in Oakland and San Francisco. "He dont know what I know, just gotta have theshowed us a whole new way of looking at quick money." Yet Henry knows he is a rolepainting," says Henry. "It wasnt just look- model for some. "When youre not involveding, it was analyzing." in drugs and youre making something of Henry, in turn, became a role model for yourself, youre something to gasp at," heBills new program in silk-screening t-shirts says.and posters for sale. "Henry was one of my Henry has decided that if he is readmit-first guys to get into the marketing aspects ted to the Fashion Institute in New York heand the printing oft-shirts, the styles and will attend. Asked how his art design reflectspresentation," explains Bill. "He was domi- the kind of person he is, Henry stops andnant in every aspect of the craft shop and a thinks.real help to others." "I stand for quality," he says. Over the years, Henry carne to embodythe dreams that Bill and the rest of the staffhad for the clubhouse. He learned the rulesof the place, playing in the gameroom, study-ing in the library, and participating in theawareness classes. But it was Henrys mas- 58
  • 57. ConclusionService providers in Oakland have demonstrated community-based organizations, volunteers, andrepeatedly that careful, targeted, coordinated all of Oakland to develop the data, resources, andapproaches can effectively reach those most in strategies that will expand these services andneed. Programs designed and run by health reduce the threat of persistent poverty. Thisproviders in Oakland have demonstrated that the report documents that there are major discrepan-provision of comprehensive prenatal care for cies in the opportunities available to our chil-high-risk women increases birthweight and dren. Some are receiving basic, even exemplaryreduces the incidence of infant mortality. Yet, as services and opportunities through their parentsstated in this report, many high-risk women in or through community or government agencies.Oakland are not receiving comprehensive or any But an alarming nurnper are going without theform of prenatal care in a timely manner. attention that will provide them with the basics. As this report has pointed out, there are Such a situation is not only unjust but couldschools in Oakland, serving poor children, that threaten the anticipated prosperity and stabilityare producing outstanding results. Other schools that Oaklands leadership is pursuing.in Oakland are moving in that direction. But to This document describes the cycle of pov-provide quality education to all of Oaklands erty threatening to entrap Oaklands children andchildren, more resources and smaller classrooms youth and identifies those vulnerable points inare needed. the cycle where targeted, comprehensive inter- Similarly, in the schools and in the commu- ventions can reverse the trend toward persistentnity there are programs providing coordinated, poverty and prevent its further entrenchment.targeted, comprehensive services to Oaklands Those areas are:youth. These service providers are reversing the 1. Family Income: We must develop andincidence of teenage pregnancy and providing support efforts to increase the incomes of poortrue bridges to self-sufficiency. But these serv- families in ways that will lead to self-sufficiency.ices are reaching only a small number of those This means concentrating intensely on ways towho need them. There are job training programs increase the earnings of poor females headingin Oakland that are doing an excellent job of families since the majority of poor children liveproviding meaningful job training that leads to in these families. Californias welfare-to-workgood paying employment; but again, there are initiative offers some opportunities in this areatoo many youths who do not have access to these but it will not do to merely force poor women toessential programs. work for their welfare checks. We must create This report is offered to the Oakland com- partnerships between businesses, government,munity by the Urban Strategies Council to assist and job training agencies to connect welfaregovernment agencies, the business community, recipients to jobs that lead to higher incomes and 59
  • 58. pathways out of poverty. We must also encour- in expanding their life options.age, support, and create efforts to employ and We can develop comprehensive strategies toincrease the earnings of at-risk males who with invest in the future generation of Oaklandswell-paying jobs could contribute financially and residents. To accomplish this, we must all workemotionally to Oaklands poor children. together and build on our strengths. We can 2. Child Health: We must support efforts to build a community that provides for every child.reduce the incidence of low birthweight. Overthe years, Oakland has provided impressiveinitiatives to improve birth outcomes. Resultsfrom those efforts have guided many throughoutthe nation to workable strategies in this area. Butmore needs to be done. Alameda County has formed the InfantMortality Oversight Committee that is coordinat-ing outreach and delivery of prenatal care. It isalso exploring ways to expand the numbers ofprenatal care providers. With community-widesupport, this effort, combined with the outstand-ing work of community clinics and other provid-ers, can make a difference. 3. Education: All efforts to halt the threat ofcontinued poverty will fail if we do not improvethe educational achievement of the young. Wemust expand the availability of quality childcareand preschool programs and demand, work for,and help build excellence in our schools, target-ing those in which poor children are concen-trated. 4. Youth Opportunity: We must save theyouth. Our school improvement efforts willhelp, but we must also prepare young people forproductive lives. The youth need to be con-nected to information and services. Opportuni-ties to work and receive job training are essential.College readiness activities need to reach not justthe "already college-bound" but the "could becollege-bound" also. We need more mentorshipefforts, supported by the money and manage-ment that can make them effective. Afterschoolprograms not only remove the youth from theconstant lure of the streets, these programs allowthe young to find out what they enjoy and can dowell. In this area, churches, businesses, andcommunity groups can play a key role, alongwith government. Mostly, the young need help 60
  • 59. Bibliography "A Childrens Defense Budget," by theChapter 2: Families Childrens Defense Fund, Washington, D.C., 1987.Publications of the 1980 U.S. Census:"Population and Housing Profiles: STF 4B," and "Changed Lives: The Effects of the Perry Pre-"Report 3: Social Indicators for Planning and school Program on Youths Through Age 19,"Evaluation." John R. Berruet-Clement, et al., High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, Ypsilanti,"Poverty and Family Structure: The Widening 1984.Gap Between Evidence and Public Policy Issues,"by William Julius Wilson in Fighting Poverty, Chapter 4: AdolescenceDanziger and Weinberg, eds., Harvard, 1986. "Schools Profile 1986-87," and individual profilesArticles in The New Urban Reality, edited by Paul of comprehensive senior high schools, 1986,S. Peterson, Brookings Institute, Washington, Oakland Unified School District.D.C., 1985: Urban Change and Minority Oppor-tunities" by John D. Kasarda; "Technology, Race, "Annual Report of California High Schools,and Urban Policy," by Paul S. Peterson; and "The 1986," State of California Department of Rehabili-Future of Industrial Cities," by Anthony Downs. tation.Chapter 3: Infancy and Childhood "Schooling in Oakland: The Challenge," by James W. Guthrie and sponsored by the OaklandAlameda County Department of Social Services Unified School District Strategic Planning Project,birth outcome data, 1980-84. June, 1985."Alameda County Perinatal Services Report, Alameda County Department of Social Services,1987," prepared by Maternal and Child Health births to teens data, 1980-85.Division of Alameda County Health Care Serv-ices Agency. United States Bureau of the Census, various reports, 1985."Schools Profile 1986-87," Oakland UnifiedSchool District. Job Training and Partnership Act Program Quar- terly Status Report Data, City of Oakland Office of Economic Development and Employment, 61
  • 60. July 1, 1985 to June 30, 1986."Study of the Market for Entry-Level Employees:A Survey of 400 Oakland Employers," preparedfor the Oakland Private Industry Council, July25, 1986."Dropout Prevention and Recovery in Califor-nia," by David Stem, University of California atBerkeley School of Education, February, 1986.Unpublished data from the Adolescent FamilyLife Program (AFLP), East Bay Perinatal Council,1986. 62
  • 61. Tum page to view maps.
  • 62. t· ( i ~1 I .! l How to Use the Transparent Maps The transparent maps in this pocket can be placed over the base map to see the concentrationof risk factors in high-poverty areas. The maps depict only the seven community developmentdistricts, excluding the hill areas. The base map on the opposite page darkens those census tractsin which 30 percent or more of the families there live below the poverty level (based on 1980Census data). The Low Birthweight transparency indicates census tracts in which 11 percent or more of allbirths were of low birthweight (less than five and one-half pounds). The data are based on theaverage for the years 1981-1984. The Alameda County rate during those years was 7 percent. The Birth to Teenagers transparency is also based on averages for the years 1981-1984. Itindicates census tracts in which 9.5 percent or more of all births were to teens 17 and under. TheAlameda County average for those years is 3.2 percent and for Blacks it is 7.2 percent. The Teen Idleness transparency indicates those census tracts in which 60 percent or more of16- to 19-year-olds out of school (including high school graduates) are also unemployed or not inthe labor force, i.e. idle. The Oakland average for "idleness/ based on the 1980 Census, is 51 per-cent for high school graduates and 68 percent for non-graduates. The AFOC Recipiency transparency is based on 1986 data. It represents those census tracts inwhich 50 percent or more of all families r eceive Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
  • 63. ElmhurstN. Oakland Fruitvale Central E. Oakland San Antonio Chinatown/Central
  • 64. Low Birthweight Births Elmhurst Fruitvale Central E. Oakland San Antonio Chinatown/CentralLBW
  • 65. Births to Teenagers under 18 Elmhurst N. Oakland Fruitvale Central E. Oakland San Antonio Chinatown/Central Teen Births
  • 66. feen leness ./"- FruitvaleW. Oakland Central E. Oakland San Antonio ..... Chinatown/Central Idlettess
  • 67. AFDC Recipiency Elmhurst N. Oakland Central E. Oakland San Antonio Chinatown/Central AFDC
  • 68. i