When the teacher’s unions and the state charter association agree to oppose something—its either something really bad, or it might be something really good. 1Oakland has done the unthinkable in uniting these polar opposites. Though this time in opposition.
I saw some emails flying and feelings catching over the last couple of weeks, so I had to just check in to see what all the kerfuffle was about, I asked Mirella Rangel, one of the lead organizers. She described how it all started with,
A GO Public Schools Campaign, 1Oakland, launched a petition asking district and charter leaders to work together to make our schools better and more equitable because right now “This system of competing and disconnected schools, separated primarily by modes of school governance, is inefficient, is not delivering quality education for all students, and is not oriented in service of family and student needs.”
Who would be against that?
The petition has gotten more than 600 signatures and the founders have been doing extensive outreach in the community. However, some groups are against the idea of district and charter schools working together.
And in the fractured public school wars that mark Oakland– 1Oakland is getting no love from either of the lead combatants.
Shunned by OEA and CCSA
Not even a conversation from the OEA. The president of the teacher’s union reportedly will not sit down with 1Oakland even though some of the leaders in 1Oakland are union members. And 1Oakland was similarly excluded from some charter conversations led by CCSA, while being criticized. With the California Charter Schools Association telling their members to resist 1Oakland calling it a “threat to charter schools.”
That is some powerful ish that can unite these two behemoths of advocacy.
So who is right?
I’ve said it before.
15% of Black elementary schoolers at charters schools can read at grade level.
14% of Black elementary school students at OUSD district schools can read at grade level.
Something has to change, and it wont happen by itself, so I asked Mirella why this was different or why it would work, and she responded,
“No part or subset of us can do this work. We can’t let people and organizations divide, shame, and blame others–district or charter. We are better than that. And our students deserve better. What impacts one school will have an impact on other schools and our students and families move from one system to another without hesitation. The only way we can address our quality, equity, and sustainability gaps is if we come together.”
That’s a better, proactive answer than I am hearing from anyone else right now. We are chest deep in trouble, and we can keep pointing fingers and complaining about each other, or all pick up a shovel and start digging.
I will opt for the latter.