FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3/16/21
Oakland NAACP Education Committee
Oakland, CA – Led by the NAACP’s Oakland chapter, nonprofit organizations, universities, and individuals have joined together as a broad-based community coalition and filed an Addendum with the Oakland Unified School District’s Board of Education (OUSD Board) in support of a formal administrative petition demanding the improvement of student reading outcomes. The organizations are highlighting the petition’s eight key actions that the OUSD Board should take, such as ensuring the adopted reading curricula have significant evidence of helping improve student achievement. The coalition hopes that their joint administrative petition will serve as a template for school districts across the country seeking to improve student reading outcomes.
“The petition and town hall are the result of the ongoing civil rights issues in OUSD, where African-American students’ low reading scores undermine their chances in life. We have worked with the district, in good faith, but we can’t wait any longer. The changes listed in the petition are long overdue and need to happen now,” said Cynthia Adams, Chair of the Oakland NAACP Education Committee.
The administrative petition seeking to improve reading outcomes can be viewed here. The petitioners will highlight the eight key actions in a virtual 90-minute town hall meeting sponsored by OUSD Board President Shanthi Gonzales and Director Dr. Clifford Thompson on Thursday, March 18th at 5:30pm PT. Register: https://tinyurl.com/LiteracyTownHall
Groups and individual co-petitioners for the requested changes, include:
- The Latino Education Network
- The Ikuna Group
- State of Black Education – Oakland
- Decoding Dyslexia – California
- Dyslexia Alliance for Black Children
- Oakland Literacy Coalition
- Equity Allies for OUSD
- Holy Names University School of Education
- Holy Names University Educational Therapy Program
- Mills College, School of Education
- Public Health Justice Collective
- Anne E. Cunningham, Professor Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley
- Michael C. Lu, Dean of the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
- Harry Snyder, Lecturer at the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
In OUSD, 60% of African American, Latino and Pacific Islander students are reading multiple years below grade level. This situation is harmful to students, their families and the public by undermining students’ future educational and career opportunities. Moreover, when it comes to juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system, statistics show:
- 85% have reading difficulties.
- Approximately 40% read below a 4th grade level.
- Between 30% to 50% have learning disabilities.
“In the past, the Latino Education Network has recommended that OUSD place greater emphasis on literacy programs given the unacceptable literacy scores experienced by Latino students. That is why we are strongly in support of the changes that the administrative petition is seeking,” said Victor Martinez of the Oakland Latino Education Network (LEN).
The media is invited to attend a virtual press conference with petitioning organizations and affected individuals to learn more about the administrative petition and the upcoming literacy town hall, on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 10:30 AM Pacific Time:
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Meeting ID: 487 267 7197
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Meeting ID: 487 267 7197
About NAACP Oakland
NAACP, is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. To this end, the NAACP’s Oakland chapter is active in researching and outreach to promote literacy best practices throughout the Oakland Unified School District. To learn more about the campaign to improve student literacy outcomes in Oakland, visit: https://acoach.org/campaigns/literacy-oakland/
Kareem WeaverThe Oakland NAACP, Education Committee510.289.8719