From SoBEO’s July Dispatch: Here’s what you need to know.

Last month, we had some notable successes! Our “Housing for All” push saw the first two unused OUSD properties go under contract to create affordable housing. OUSD’s efforts to change enrollment rules to admit more underserved students also saw encouraging results as enrollment pilots doubled. 
Monday (August 9th) is the first day back at school and we’ve broken down some new data and suggestions on the best schools for our kids. 
We also started our “keep Oakland Schools Segregated?” podcast and had featured guests such as Brian Stanley, James Harris, Gary Yee, Courtney Martin and others. We dug in deep on Oakland’s educational journey and where we go from here. Outside of our summary of the news we also have one of Oakland’s true sheroes featured, Ms. Oral Lee Brown.  Take a look and get involved-  our children need you.

State of Black Education Oakland (SoBEO)
July Dispatch

Keep Oakland Schools Segregated?  This month was the launch of SoBEO’s webinar series “Keep Oakland Schools Segregated?” in partnership with Integrate Schools Oakland. Featured guests in Part 1 discussed how open enrollment shaped the  demographics of Oakland schools, redlining and what school segregation looks like on a basic level. Read a quick recap here. Part 2 of the webinar series discussed prioritizing integration and how the perception around Black/Brown/ White school communities needs to change. The most important question in the discussion was how do we continue to understand each other’s lived experiences. Stay tuned for a possible part 3! 

Affordable Housing, BCZ & OUSD. 

OUSD finally moved forward on building affordable housing on two vacant sites. The Black Cultural Zone is a key partner in making this happen. This passed 5-2 with objections from only two directors (Hutchinson & Gonzalez). The sites will be mixed-use developments at each site and include market rate units, subsidized housing for teachers, a site offering job training for residents, and more. This remains a top priority that the community identified and that we worked for, so thanks to all for starting to make this a reality.

In this issue & things to read:

Access to Quality Schools
Another priority for SoBEO and the community is the need for access to quality schools. Despite having more choices than ever, enrollment rules deny many of our families of their choices.  We’ve pushing for change – first in passing the Opportunity Ticket, which gives families at closing schools priority. New enrollment pilots at Sequoia, Brewer and Chabot draw families off the waitlist in a way that prioritizes low income families. The results? This doubled the number of out of neighborhood, low income students. It is crucial that we push and make sure that our families, who have often been denied access to the schools of their choice, actually get them. Read more here.

Where you send your child to school is one of the most important decisions you can make. At which schools are Black and Brown students succeeding? GO produced this report, looking at how low income Black and Latinx students are doing. Read SoBEO’s take here

“It’s Not All about the Money”
Oral Lee Brown, an Oakland real estate agent now in her 70s, has been promoting that idea since 1987, when she “adopted” a class of first graders from Brookfield Elementary School in East Oakland, promising to pay their college costs if they stayed in school. Since the 1990s, Brown has helped more than 120 low-income Black and Latino students through school, with 80-90% graduating from college debt-free. Read more about the beginnings of The Oral Lee Brown Foundation. Read full story here

And that’s it for July newsletter! Stay tuned for more happening this month. Follow State of Black Education Oakland on Twitter, Instagram & FB.
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