Quality Education for All
Black and Brown children far too often fall through the cracks of our educational system. Over the last two decades, I have worked to make significant improvements to the education system here in Oakland, including a resolution that ensures all children have access to A-G classes that allow them to apply to state schools and an increase in real conversations about race and class in our educational systems. For Oakland to thrive, we must prioritize our children. The issues in our current education system remain many and severe. Working with parents, educators, students and the Oakland Unified School District, we must:
Partner with the County and the District to ensure high quality child development and preschool for ALL Oakland families.
Improve services for families so our schools can be a resource that addresses the whole child.
Ensure that our students have adequate nutrition so that they can focus on learning.
Help teachers avoid, burnout and turnover.
Provide consistent academic rigor in the classrooms so ALL students are prepared for life after high school.
Ensure that our students are being taught by credentialed teachers
Help the District recruit more Black and Brown teachers so students have more teachers who look like them.
Partner with the District to provide additional services so that we end the School to Prison Pipeline that disproportionately impacts Black and Brown youth
Ensure the end to racial disparities in referrals, suspensions, and expulsions
Provide support to the District so that the schools and counselors can focus on their core mission - education and college readiness.
Ensure that Oakland children have access to Arts Education
Work with Oakland Unified, our Peralta Community Colleges, and the local trade unions to ensure high level trade/skilled labor options for students.
Replace law enforcement officers with counselors in our schools.
We must zero in on partnerships that create wrap around services for students and their families, including quality after-school and job training programs and other programming that would create full-service community hubs that city social services and nonprofit organizations. Schools can and should be open seven days a week, offering support with things like adult education, conflict resolution, substance abuse counseling and more. This takes the pressure off of teachers to solve every single social ill and allows them to focus on what we want them to do best: teach.
In addition, it will be important to develop stronger partnerships with Teachers’ Unions in order to:
Oppose the epidemic of union-busting that has taken over much of the country.
Create conditions in schools that prioritize teacher-led collaboration and governance
Redistribute the city budget to in order to subsidize teacher salaries and provide housing benefits that make us competitive and will attract and retain educators.
Ensure adequate preparation prior to entering the field
Prioritize our highest-need schools as a method to interrupt the system of inequitable resource distribution including the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula and ensure these designated dollars go to where they are supposed to.
Finally, as the Oakland Unified School District is set to close up to 30 additional schools this school year, we will call for a moratorium on the creation of any more charter schools in our City. Furthermore, decisions about charter schools entering a district should be made at the district - not the state - level. Charter schools are a technical answer to an adaptive problem. A failure to address systemic racism and classism in public education inevitably leads to the recreation of significant inequities.. Often, these inequities disproportionately impact our most marginalized schools, forcing parents who are most impacted to make difficult choices. The reality is that choosing between a sizzling frying pan and a pot of boiling water isn’t really a choice, yet this is the reality for parents of color across our City every single school year. We need massive reinvestment in our public schools while increasing accountability and transparency from existing charter schools.
OUSD is at a critical juncture. Difficult and painful decisions are going to be made. In these times, the District needs a Mayor who understands the intricate issues surrounding educational justice and reform and has a proven track record of working in partnership with key stakeholders to achieve results. Furthermore, the District - and our families - need the influence of the Mayor to be utilized to bring pressure on the State to unconditionally forgive the entire $100 million loan that we never requested but for which we continue to pay the price. As a parent and lifelong advocate of educational equity, I promise to stand with you to ensure a thriving, just, and equitable district that trusts parents, values students, and cherishes teachers.