Dear April from Hayward

I have worked with Black families in Oakland for roughly 30 years.  I am a co-founder for the State of Black Education in Oakland, and have hosted and attended dozens of events focusing on Black children, many in partnership with the NAACP.  I have never seen April from Hayward.  I have never even heard of April from Hayward until she sent an email, playing on Black Lives matter, but exploiting it for a narrow political gain, on some anti charter nonsense.  This is the worst form of opportunism, so please stop.

April, put down the avocado toast.  If you want to come to meet some Black Oakland families, that can be arranged.  I think they would tell you what you can do with your lectures and opportunism.  And if you ever listened to Black families you would know why most Black families support school choice.  It’s not because they are stooges, it’s because what we are offered is usually substandard23 Black children in Oakland, less than 1% attended a school that scored above the state average. Of all the 3rd through 8th graders 23 Black children.

You see, in Oakland, public school, charter or district, is a likely ticket to nowhere if you are Black.  While there are examples of both district and charter schools making progress, as a system, both sectors are failing our kids.

11.5% of Black children in OUSD do math on grade level 18.5% read on grade level. For White kids its in the 70s for reading and 60s for math.  The numbers are only slightly better in charter schools.  You also have schools, that literally had substitutes all year for core classes, and those students have multiple years of that happening.

I know that April from Hayward’s kid would never get near those schools.  But Black kids go there all the time.  And April from Hayward is a board member in Hayward—they must be doing great by Black kids right?  She has time to lecture Oakland, so Hayward must be holding it down.

Hayward’s Racist Schools, and Where is April on Anti-Racism at Home

Actually, not so much.  As the East Bay Express wrote earlier this year Hayward’s Public Schools Have a Problem With Race A steady stream of complaints from students and parents reveals a school district in disarray.”

Going on to describe the blatant racism in the district and a school board that was doing nothing.

“African-American and Latino elementary school students are being victimized by teachers and staff members at schools in the Hayward Unified School District, parents and their children said for a second straight school board meeting in February. Students, some sobbing, addressed the Hayward school board last Wednesday while describing instances of being called fat and belittled by teachers during class instruction. Bullying by other students also has gone unabated despite repeated complaints to school officials, parents said, and school district and board of trustees have done little to improve the racially biased atmosphere at some Hayward schools.

… “My family is in an educational abusive relationship with the Hayward Unified School District,” she told the school board last month. “What is happening is not okay and I will not stop until it is okay for all children to go to school in this district and be safe and feel loved.”

Similar frustrations regarding bullying and racism toward students by teachers has been voiced at the Hayward school board for several years. But parents believe little has been done to eliminate the issue. “

Seems like someone, who claims to be a such a staunch racial advocate, should be doing some work at home, rather than worrying about Oakland.  And Whitesplaining school quality and racism to folks who live here, and live in this system.

April from Hayward must have long standing anti racist views, since she came out so strong.  Again, not so much.

I googled April from Hayward and you could hardly find a post that even mentioned “Black or African American” here are the first 3 results. You couldn’t even find a post that had Black or African American in the first 3 searches.

So yeah, April from Hayward, if you want to learn something about Black kids in Oakland, please come and attend our events.  Several trustees have.  And you have a right to your political opinions.  But if you want to push a political agenda on the back of a social movement around dead Black people, please save that shit, and go back to your avocado toast and potato salad with raisins.  Because you really aren’t speaking for Black folks and we don’t appreciate your new jack culture vulturing our causes for your political points.

Please be better and do better.

Postscript-I did have a positive discussion with April, she shared with me some of the work they are doing in Hayward and that she is intimately involved with anti racist reforms. I honestly haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. I also hope to work with her to assure more equitable access to charter public schools. I admittedly was in my feelings on these issues, and apologize for any undeserved derision. My point is always ultimately the same, if you want to talk about Black kids in Oakland and what may be good or bad for them, you need to come here and speak with families, and really understand the challenges they face, and the impossible decisions they have to make. This is not about some study from some think tank (I can pull those up to), its about the families in Oakland who have been largely disserved by both the charters and the district. And until you have actual answers for them, and not promises of future answers, then please don’t. And by all means, dig in on Hayward, talk to those families, understand their needs and address them. I 100% applaud that work, so long as it is family driven, and appreciate April taking the time for the conversation.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Dear April from Hayward

  1. Dr. April Oquenda is now public with her opinion that charter schools are racist. Perhaps she should visit an Oakland charter school, or any charter school for that matter and then make a more informed opinion about charter schools. Her board colleague Ken Rawdon also hates charter schools for the sake of hating charter schools. The HUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne actually attended an Alameda County Board of Education meeting and spoke out against a charter school expansion in Oakland! The school is 21 miles from his Hayward office, yet he decided to lecture the ACBOE about charter school expansion. Thank you for writing this piece, these people need to be exposed and driven away from positions of authority.

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