The Hard Choices for Oakland Families; A.P. Fees or Food, and How You Can Help

Imagine working hard all year in an advanced placement class, and then not having the $94 to be able to pay to take the test to get credit. You don’t need to imagine it.  It’s happening at Tech, and I assume every other OUSD high school.  And you can help by donating here.

Historically, the District could pay these fees through a grant, but those funds have fallen victim to the budget cuts, and they really hurt, some more than others.

Fees and access to the American Dream

Unexpected fees are beyond reach for many families. And this hurdle will predictably trip some, while others sail over.  One story of the tripping hurdler, who should be flying, is Edress Saied.

If you read the blog you have read Edrees’ powerful work, and it hurt me to see him quoted in the KTVU article, noting the painful choices families have to make,

“My parents struggle already. It’s hard to pay bills, go grocery shopping. AP tests don’t seem as worthy as the grocery shopping,” says Edrees Saied. The high school senior says he’s taking four AP classes.

And I know how hard he has worked, how he has struggled at times in those classes, and to think that he may not get credit for them—it’s a cruel joke on these kids.

The good news is that Tech has raised roughly $15,000 of the $20,000 it needs to cover the costs for the Tech kids.

The bad news is that I expect there are other schools, with less active parent bases, and they will not be able to raise this money.  We have seen this is in other cases where the relatively resourced schools can raise money to offset cuts while the less resourced schools and communities absorb them.

So while this is great for Tech and the young people I know have worked so hard, I hope that we can also do something similar for the other high schools that presumably have the same problem, but fewer solutions.

We hear a lot of equity talk in Oakland, while the walk is sometimes lacking.

What do you think?

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