As the 2018-2019 school year begins to wind down, our 1Oakland leaders are continuing to advocate for quality public education for all students in Oakland. Wednesday night, community leaders spoke at the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) school board meeting to continue to support the implementation of the Community of Schools Citywide Plan.
I’m glad the district heard us and has moved the district and charter leaders to talk about a quality measure for Oakland schools. This measure ensures a fair process for district and charter schools for when they have to make big decisions, whether they are blueprint, renovations, or others. – Maria Vicente, 1Oakland Leader
In March, the school board voted in favor of the Citywide Plan, a big step in the fight to address and tackle inequality in our school system. We believe the Plan sets forth the path to come together and move forwards towards a unified system of public schools that holds both district and charter leaders accountable for increasing quality, equity, and sustainability.
A shared definition of quality:
Throughout the drafting and finalization process of the Citywide Plan, we continued to hear from the 1Oakland leaders and our broader community, that any plan has to have the foundation of a shared definition of quality for our schools, both district-run and charter.
A shared definition of quality is not out of reach, and does not have to (nor should it) rely solely on standardized test scores. In fact, the California Dashboard, our state’s way of providing school information to the public, includes the status of a school’s academics, culture and climate – holistic data that is valued by both families and educators. Additionally, Oakland is part of the CORE Data Collaborative Community, a group that focuses it’s work on following the growth of students as they progress through K-12 public schools. Just recently, we’ve seen this data used to celebrate schools in Oakland whose students are making academic gains faster than similar students and schools across the state. We’re hopeful that having this data readily available will give city leaders a head start when co-creating a definition of quality for Oakland.
The Citywide Plan: Leading with Quality:
The Citywide Plan is courageous and comprehensive, and references a shared definition of quality in nearly every section. 1Oakland is proud to have influenced the conversation and moved both district and charter leaders to be talking about a shared definition of quality. A shared definition of quality will help educators in our city partner to learn best practices, create processes for continuous school improvement and innovation, and support a focus on long term fiscal sustainability. This work is clear to the leaders of 1Oakland, but we’re concerned that it is not as clear to the broader community.
Help the Community Connect the Dots:
Recently, long-term lease criteria (for charter schools to lease district-owned facilities) were passed by the board, and while the actual criteria include alignment with the Citywide Plan, it was still unclear to the community that establishing long term leases is a strategy named in the Facilities section of the Plan. In the future, it would be helpful for district leaders to specifically link the plan’s strategies to the goals and long term vision. This clarity, along with regular periodic updates on the overall plan, will ensure that the community knows how the work is interconnected, and help us celebrate progress together. As Superintendent Johnson-Trammell recently expressed, being in community with each other, across district and charter-run schools, is truly the foundation of this work.
“Even if we doubled education funding tomorrow, we would still have to figure out the best way to work together on behalf of all Oakland students. Without that foundation, we will lose the unity we need to address the fundamental issues to truly realize quality across all schools.” – OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell
1Oakland is a community-led movement. We ask you to join us in advocating for true quality, equity, and sustainability across all schools.