You’ve heard the stories or perhaps even experienced them if, like us, you’re a teacher: the buying of pencils and paper, the cobbling together of DonorsChoose.org campaigns to purchase books and fund field trips, the constant stress and consideration about whether or not the salary provides a sustainable living. The narrative around underfunded classrooms (and educators) is not a new one and we’re not here to continue to list the familiar woes plaguing teachers around our nation. We are interested, however, in outlining specific, ongoing challenges facing Oakland’s budget and, importantly, what we plan to do and how you can help us.
As a former Oakland Unified principal, I know that our school district is not perfect. But my North Star as a leader – for my students, teachers, and the district as a whole – was always asking if we were improving and learning from our mistakes.
Sometimes the Facebook feature “On This Day” just reminds me of how much free time I had before I became an educator and a mother. Today, it showed me that 5 years ago this week, GO Oakland put out the very first all-call for applicants to the inaugural cohort of our Teacher Policy Fellowship. At the time, I was a full-time Special Education teacher, just beginning to pop my head out of the classroom to try to understand how the whole system of public education works.