2020 like the 400 plus years before it was a struggle. Still, we rose. We came together as a community to celebrate our elders and elders to be in our annual Celebration of Black Educators, as well as fight, and in most cases, win for Black children. Thank you to everyone who has joined us and welcome to anyone who wants to join.
Conversations, Community, Research and Action for Black Families
Policies for the People– You spoke and we listened. You wanted action on housing, access to quality schools, and with COVID, access to affordable and reliable internet. You also called for more Black teachers, and better outcomes for graduates. Those were our platforms. Three of those have passed without a dissenting vote, and we still need your help on the other two.
Housing for All- Passed OUSD unanimously– OUSD is the City’s second largest landowner, with empty building and empty plots of land, this policy requires them to review their properties, and prioritize their uses for affordable housing, particularly for youth. The former Tilden CDC and Edward Shands sites are taking bids for affordable housing.
Internet for All- Passed OUSD unanimously-When distance learning came, many of our families were unconnected or underconnected. We fought broadband companies to get them to waive any preconditions to signup. And we fought to assure that families who needed it would get (1) a free device for every child (2) free internet, not “free or low cost” which was the first language, and (3) that there is a local hire requirement in contracting for these services. We had over 150,000 views on our podcast supporting Internet For All, Access Denied.
The Opportunity Ticket and Access to Quality Schools-Passed OUSD unanimously- With our partners, The Oakland REACH, we fundamentally changed OUSD’s enrollment policies, allowing families at closing schools to have first choice of any school. We also supported other enrollment changes to allow Black families greater access to the schools of their choice. In the last year of data, only 23 of over 5,000 Black students in the public schools went to a school scoring above the state average.
We Still Need Your Help
Black Teachers- Two statewide studies found that having one Black teacher in elementary school increased the chances that a Black student would go to college by 29%. Yet the number of Black teachers in California and Oakland are declining. We need charters and OUSD to set goals and timetables to increase the hiring, retention and development of Black teachers, and resource and report on those efforts. Please sign our petition and join us.
College Readiness for Black Students– Overall Black students are about half as likely to graduate from high school college eligible as White students in OUSD. We have schools where every Black student is eligible and others where not a single one is. We can change the outcomes by changing expectations, our Dump the D campaign would make a simple policy change (that many high graduation rate schools already have) which level the playing field around college readiness.
We Need to Always Celebrate Our Champions
If you could not join us for our 3rd Annual Celebration of Black Educators, please join us virtually and check out the rousing speeches from our honorees and the sense of community, that bides even across the internet.
Never Back to Normal
The system systematically disserves us, and it does so with exquisite precision and efficiency. A system where roughly 1 in 5 Black kids can read, 1 in 7 can do Math, and a low-income Black child with an IEP is 29 times more likely to be suspended than his non challenged counterparts. Normal is not something to return to, we need to continue to push and build and change the systems, or build our own if we can’t. So please join us in the continuing struggle. And thank you for being a part of the change so far.
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