Schools are the fabric of our neighborhoods and we believe that every student in Oakland has the right to a quality public education. We are capable of providing a premier education for all students.
But, to deliver on that right, leaders, educators, and the community have to work closely together to address the quality and equity gaps in our schools.
Because of that, we are launching 1Oakland, a campaign that will bring Oakland families, educators, and community leaders together to work for a more cohesive, equitable, and sustainable education system.
We know we can do better.
Confronting the Brutal Facts
We have to come to terms with the brutal facts. This summer, GO and it’s partners released the Informing Equity Study by Education Resource Strategies, examining data for the 2014-15 school year from district and charter schools across three key dimensions: student need, resource levels, and resource use. Key takeaways from this report are:
- On average district schools serve higher needs students: On the whole, district schools are serving a higher proportion of our city’s higher needs students. This means that charters, as a whole, are serving a smaller portion of late entry students (those entering school after October 1st), students who entered charter school in 6th and 9th grade had higher rates of SBAC proficiency, and charter schools served a smaller proportion of students with special needs, particularly students with moderate to severe needs.
- On average charter schools receive less resources: Charters on average receive approximately $1,400 less per pupil than OUSD schools on a per pupil basis after adjusting partially for equity.
- Our schools and system must be sustainable: While OUSD struggles to meet its financial responsibilities, we have to recognize problems raised by the number of schools in Oakland, district and charter, that are under-enrolled, too small to be financially manageable, or too small to serve students with high needs.
Taking Action Together
It’s time for 1Oakland.
The Blueprint for Quality Schools, an initiative by by OUSD, will assess needs within district-run schools and is only a starting point. Additionally, there are charter leaders in Oakland who are assessing their internal practices and working with other charter schools to address inequities within the charter community. But these isolated efforts, lack of city-wide collaboration, or alignment with the Alameda County Office of Education’s charter authorization process will continue to perpetuate inequalities. We need leaders across Oakland to move beyond the divisions that exist between our schools and the district and charter systems.
We believe that when we come together to actively manage and design for both current and future student need, we can provide a more groundbreaking educational model that leverages Oakland’s talent and imagination developing the schools and systems that will prepare our students to solve the problems of tomorrow.
We are launching a community-driven campaign led by families, educators, and community to:
- Identify our greatest challenges and points of tension;
- Improve coordination and planning across our education system; and
- Make policy recommendations based on what works best for our various communities.
We are recruiting leaders to join this work. Purnell Bailey and Danielle King are ready:
“We need a clear city-wide vision for what a real quality public education looks like! Once we have that, we need to develop the plan to make it happen city-wide across district/charter and obtain the needed local and state resources to provide quality education for all children in Oakland, so that they have the necessary tools to change the world for the betterment of humanity.” – Pernell Bailey, McClymonds High School Parent
“We need consistent resources for Special Education students, reliable and accountable educators, and equity across all schools.” Danielle King, Hillcrest and East Bay Innovation Parent
Are you ready? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.