Co-Founder and CEO
Families in Action for Quality Education
Cell: (510) 798-9163
*MEDIA ADVISORY: Wednesday, February 24th*
Families in Action for Quality Education and Aspire ERES Families to Host Press Conference and Car Caravan Ahead of Next School Board Meeting
Groups will call out the OUSD School Board for not listening to parent voices and instead taking actions to close a high quality school
WHO: Oakland families protesting school closure and proposed changes to OUSD enrollment policy, City Council Member Noel Gallo
WHAT: Families in Action and Aspire ERES Academy to demand OUSD Board prioritize listening to parents’ voices over their anti-charter political agendas
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 24 – Press Conference at 2:30pm PT, Car Caravan at 3:00pm
WHERE: La Escuelita (in front of KDOL Studios) 314 East 10th Street, Oakland
Aspire ERES Academy, a high-quality in-demand school in the Fruitvale, is on the brink of closure due to a decade of inaction by the OUSD school board. On top of that, the new OUSD Board is considering a change in OUSD enrollment policy that would make information about enrolling in charter schools inaccessible to Oakland families. Both of these are in direct conflict with what Oakland’s Black and brown parents have been demanding from their school board.
“My children are completely devastated that their school is likely to close at the end of the year,” said Aspire ERES Academy parent Reyna Morales. “Especially during the pandemic when my family has been suffering, this is almost too much for them to handle. If OUSD is not listening to the families they serve, who are they listening to?”
The new Board was seated on January 4th, in the middle of a pandemic that has closed schools and exacerbated generations of educational inequality in Oakland. Their top priority in a massive crisis? It’s not talking to parents about what they need or keeping a quality school like Aspire ERES open. Instead, their priority is to make school options less transparent by doing away with the Oakland School Finder to ensure the families with the least options already, have even more barriers to access quality education for their children. 74% of parents wanted a single enrollment system according to a recent survey conducted by OUSD.
“Why is the OUSD board trying to cut parents off from information about schools?” said Michael McDaniel, Jr., a parent with children in both district and charter schools. “Instead of shutting parents out of the conversation, why don’t you ask us why we’re choosing to attend the schools we do? Maybe then we could think about how we can work together to improve learning for all children in Oakland.”
Parents from FIA have had enough. Oakland is now nearly a year into the pandemic — and thirty years into systemic failures in our schools — and the Board cannot manage to keep a high-quality school open that is serving low-income, immigrant families. Their priority to make school choices harder to navigate for families seems to be taking us backwards. FIA parents will call on the School Board to spend their time listening to families’ voices and focusing on how to increase access to quality school options. Parents will demand the Board of one of California’s lowest performing school districts focus urgently on how they can better educate our kids by listening to families — instead of trapping our kids in failing schools.
“I was born and raised in Oakland. I watched this system deny my brother, my sister, and myself quality choices time and time again. I refuse to stand by and let this Board take away even more choices for my own kids,” said FIA parent leader Michael McDaniel Jr. “That’s why we are coming together with a loud and clear message: Keep ERES open and keep information about school options accessible to families.”
About Families in Action
Families in Action for Quality Education (FIA Oakland) was founded in March 2019 by Aspire, Lighthouse Community Schools, Education for Change, AMPS and Oakland Unity HS in response to growing local and statewide political threats to accessing quality public schools. Today, FIA brings 42 charter school communities together (representing 16,881 students, or nearly 1/3 of all Oakland public school students) to build and implement FIA strategy and campaigns. We are realizing our collective voice and power by:
- Building the leadership capacity of parents, youth, educators, school leaders and board members as champions for their schools and for quality schools for all Oakland students, especially those who have been historically underserved.
- Reclaiming the narrative about public education through ensuring that parent and youth voices, stories and experiences are heard in driving citywide policy and practice decisions.
- Building coalitions and a city-wide movement for quality schools.
Learn more at www.fiaoakland.com.
About Aspire ERES Academy
Aspire ERES Academy, a high performing school, has served TK-8 students in the Fruitvale neighborhood for the last 12 years. Aspire ERES serves a high needs population where over 90% are low income and nearly 100% are students of color. Aspire ERES outperforms 11 of 12 neighborhood schools and is in high demand, with more than 200 families on the wait list.
ERES has a pending material revision that would allow the OUSD school board to increase enrollment to meet community demand and become financially sustainable. The OUSD Board will vote on the material revision on Feb. 24, 2021. ERES Academy’s fight for increased enrollment and an adequate facility has lasted more than ten years (see fact sheet here), and if this month’s vote is not successful, the school will be forced to close its doors to 220 students at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
Kimi KeanCo-founder and CEOmobile | 510-798-9163