The city of Oakland has been historically segregated along racial and income lines and its schools mirror this segregation. OUSD should address school segregation via equitable enrollment policies as a means to improve education and life outcomes for all students, with the biggest gains going toward historically marginalized communities.
Efforts to meaningfully integrate schools can disrupt the concentration of resources in a select few schools and create enriching learning environments.
What's Our Approach?
Equity Allies is working within the community as well as researching national models in order to recommend enrollment changes. We recognize the challenges that work around school desegregation entails. We also believe in the potential it has to redress long-standing racial inequities in Oakland schools. We therefore plan to push for strong, meaningful changes to student assignment that align with our values while always listening to community input and building partnerships both in Oakland and elsewhere.
The details of our current recommendations can be found here. As the document explains, we are:
Participating in OUSD’s working group on enrollment reform.
Initiating conversations with a set of schools experiencing rapid demographic shifts about how changes in enrollment strategy could help them retain their existing diversity.
Engaging parents in conversations around equity and enrollment
We will be providing more information on each of these areas in the near future.
Centering Our Work Around Data
To help inform our recommendations, Equity Allies is working to define and track school segregation in Oakland by analyzing the degree to which students are concentrated by race and class in schools. We are excited to share many of these findings. Please feel free to reach out with questions or comments.
School Segregation's History in Oakland
Equity Allies approaches its work on enrollment with humility and an eagerness to better understand the historical implications of our integration platform. We believe that this work requires a clear understanding of how school segregation is intricately tied to the larger urban landscape as well as historically racist housing practices.
Jeremy, a member of our group, has created a timeline of events that have had varying impacts on the segregated and unequal school system we see in Oakland today. This is by no means meant to serve as an official history or a complete understanding of segregation in Oakland. We hope the timeline can start a conversation around why segregation in both schools and neighborhoods is so harmful, why it has persisted for so long, and what policy changes can reverse it. We also hope other community members may help us lead conversations about the events included in the timeline. Please feel free to send us comments and suggestions. (The timeline was created with the support of Talia Leibovitz, as UC Berkeley graduate student in the Graduate School of Education).