Resources for white parents concerned about equity in Oakland schools

A guest post by Courtney Martin

I’m working on a book about white parents and school integration, and such, am lucky enough to get paid to spend much of my day learning about the Oakland Unified School District and the equity issues that abound here (to some, that may sound more like a curse…).

I know there are a lot of white and/or economically stable parents out there who care about what’s happening and want to be a force for change, but aren’t sure where to start. I’m throwing this quick list up in hopes that it helps you take steps towards being an anti-racist advocate.

There are so many organizations to check out and support, either with your money or your time, but here are a few to get you started:

The Oakland REACH: these are parents of color, many of whom have been in Oakland for generations, fighting for genuine equity for their kids. White parents who care about what black and brown kids experience in this city should be listening to and following their lead, and funding them. Among their many contributions, the “opportunity ticket” could shake things up in the next school selection moment.

Equity Allies for OUSD: this is a group of parents and community members across Oakland schools that care about equity and get together to trade strategies for taking action (like forming DEI committees of your PTA, donating a portion of PTA funding at higher-income schools to schools that are struggling etc.). Also, definitely check out the Equity Allies fund and the super important effort to reform Prop 13.

Integrated Schools: this national organization is founded and run by parents and has so much wisdom to offer all of us who are newer to the equity/integration conversation. I can’t recommend the podcast more highly — such thoughtful exploration of how to shift power and all the pitfalls of “good intentions.”

And a few reads to get you started:

If you’ve got time for a book, dig into Children of the Dream by Berkeley’s own Rucker Johnson.

If you’ve got time for an articles or two, read Brian Stanley (an Oakland native, expert in education, and parent at Kaiser), browse Great School Voices, or check out my series on white parents and school intergration at On Being.

Feel free to add your own favorite resources into the comments section.

What do you think?

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