An Oakland Kerfuffle that Unites OEA and CCSA; the Heated Debate over the 1Oaklnd campaign

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.


What do you think?

7 thoughts on “An Oakland Kerfuffle that Unites OEA and CCSA; the Heated Debate over the 1Oaklnd campaign

    1. It would be smart for Richmond to do that. Oakland is on the bleeding edge of the problem and I’m hoping we can move to the leading edge. It’s really just about putting all the anti aside and focusing on the overall system and how it works for kids. Let’s spend less time hating on each other and turn to hate on the problem: our inequality and quality issue.

  1. Charter schools drain resources from public schools, and the billionaire-backed charter/”reform” sector has positioned itself as the enemy of public schools and behaves as such, attacking and denigrating wherever it can. So how does it make sense for public education supporters to make nicey-nice with a mighty, billionaire-backed force trying to crush public education?

    1. Never hurts to talk. Maybe there are some genuine teachers, principals, families within the charter schools who are interested in improving education more than they are interested in opposing public education. The teachers at the charter schools have more in common with us than they do with the hedge fund managers who are maybe backing their school.

  2. Wow! It saddens me an opportunity to be bold and change things is interpreted as a threat. It sometimes makes me thing the Charter schools and District schools really do not give our children priority. We need to be saving our babies first. I have torn feelings about Charter versus District. But shouldn’t priority be on our children rather than this hate and shame game? Both sides should be more focused on demanding better quality schools and Equitable access to a quality seat in a quality school. Well, if they don’t do we parents will mobilize and fight for better quality schools particularly for our Black and Brown children, who are the ones being left behind .

    1. I first thought the way you do, and said so on this comment page. Have since been checking out the alarming depletion of money going to public schools because of the way charters are funded. Have also looked at the evidence in New Orleans where 100% of the schools are charters, leading to extreme segregation and increasing inequity in outcomes, and truly bad performers like Rocketship. There is a primarily Black public school in LA (Baldwin Hills) with great educational outcomes, which is under attack from a charter school (the parents are organizing a fight-back campaign). I do not want the 0.1% to control our educational system, and they are too often the funding behind the Charter School Associations. Also, 1Oakland is funded by GoPublic, which is a charter school-backed organization, so I think their desire to reach across the charter-public divide is disingenuous. Rosie

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