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ORGANIZING, ADVOCATING, AND TAKING ACTION FOR EQUITY IN OUSD 

© 2019 • Equity Allies for OUSD

  

Equity

Equity is about ensuring that the right type and amount of resources are provided where they are needed. Within an educational context, equity means that schools have the types of resources they need to ensure that all students and staff are thriving intellectually, psychologically, emotionally, and professionally.  As the National Equity Project states, “Educational equity means that each child receives what he or she needs to develop to his or her full academic and social potential.” We agree.

 

Both historic and contemporary practices, laws, and policies in Oakland have concentrated power, resources, and opportunities within a limited number of schools, neighborhoods, and families. Many members of Equity Allies for OUSD - and our children - are benefitting from these privileges in multiple ways.  Our work together is largely about harnessing these resources from across Oakland to advocate, organize, and take action through a lens of equity.

 

 

Privilege

Some of the unearned privilege that we are aware of having include:

  • Attending public schools with families and Parent Teacher Associations that raise enough money to provide for extracurricular activities, additional teachers, field trips, discretionary teacher supply budgets, campus beautification, cultural events;

  • Attending schools that can raise enough money to cover for mid-year budget cuts;

 

  • Ability to rent/buy homes in neighborhoods with highly desired public schools in order to get neighborhood preference in enrollment process;

 

  • Ability to walk or take short commute to school which provides more time for other activities (paid work, exercise, running errands)

 

  • Ability to volunteer regularly in our own children’s classrooms and/or meet with teachers without financial impact (ie. not having to take a sick day to attend school functions);

 

  • Ability to share key identity traits with our children’s teachers including (often) race, language, knowledge of educational jargon, etc.

 

  • Ability to provide for our children: safe neighborhood, healthy food, stable housing, access to health care, enrichment opportunities, help with homework, comfort knowing their family will be able to afford college, and more.

 

Allies

  • We do not know best about what other families need.  Our role is to listen, to learn, and to show up in times, places, and ways based on the guidance of others;

  • Our lives and futures are tied up with those of others in our community.  We push ourselves to look beyond surface-level benefits to understand how what is best for the collective is best for us too;

  • We recognize that moving towards equity involves us relinquishing our privilege, power, and resources;

  • We make decisions through a lens and vision of equity;

  • We strive to “bring people in” and provide opportunities and conduits to take steps -- small or large -- towards educational equity in Oakland;

  • We care about all children in Oakland.  And, we prioritize the needs of children and schools in the Oakland Unified School District when necessary, particularly Black and Brown students and/or youth from low-income and/or non-English-dominant families.

 

OUSD

Our primary focus is on working to advance equity for students in OUSD because we want a future where public education (and this means traditional public schools) truly work for all children and families.  We focus our allyship within OUSD because we believe that is the best way to serve the most children in Oakland. The concept of being allies “for OUSD” does not mean that we are apologists or unwavering defenders of the District; rather, we see ourselves predominantly as allies of students within OUSD schools and allies of schools within the district, and at more limited times as allies of the district itself.

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