Equity for all students is focus at Oakland Public Schools Equity Pledge meeting

A gathering of public education leaders committed to serving all Oakland students

On April 27, representatives from the Oakland Unified School District and the city’s charter public schools joined with local community and civic leaders to discuss creating the Oakland Public Schools Equity Pledge, an agreement to ensure all of the city’s public schools are delivering a quality public education for all students.

The Oakland Public Schools Equity Pledge is a collaborative effort to level the playing field and forge a partnership across all of the organizations that run public schools in Oakland. Representatives from OUSD, charter schools, and community groups will work to develop a set of agreements for how Oakland public schools will work together in service of all of the city’s students and families. To achieve this goal,  working groups have been formed to discuss the following interest areas:

  • Supporting and keeping great educators
  • Improving public school enrollment
  • Serving all students with special needs effectively
  • Fair distribution of funding
  • Use of school facilities
  • Measuring school performance
  • Developing high-quality schools
  • Sharing effective classroom practices

The meeting – led by co-chairs Yana Smith (OUSD) and Hae-Sin Thomas (Education for Change Public Schools) – was the first opportunity for all Equity Pledge working group members and advisors to connect with each other, establish clarity around the purpose and timeline of the effort, and hear progress updates.

As OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson shared during his remarks, the meeting was a rally “to focus on the most important thing: ensuring that every single one of our students graduate from our public schools ready to be successful in college and career.” Superintendent Wilson compelled participants to envision the Equity Pledge as representing Oakland’s commitment to “quality, success, and equity.”

Superintendent Wilson shares his vision for the Oakland Public Schools Equity Pledge

At the meeting, participants shared their reasons for being part of the Oakland Public Schools Equity Pledge. Their quotes reflected the spirit of the meeting and included:

We need a better student and community centered system to support equity, access, and awesome outcomes for all kids but especially the kids and families who currently don’t have this level of privilege and access.

Education is the only way to maximize every child’s ability to achieve to his or her potential.

Our students come first.

We are ONE Oakland! We all have something to learn. We all have something to teach.

Meeting attendants reflect on the importance of equity and share their aspirations for Oakland

Participants were unified in their commitment to ensure the Equity Pledge engages, and is informed by, the Oakland community. In addition to the website, where anyone can provide feedback and ask questions, a short survey will soon be released to capture insights from local families. A community forum will be held in late May and provide an opportunity for community members to hear about the Equity Pledge’s progress and share their input.

Equity Pledge working groups will provide a progress update to the OUSD Board of Education in June and will share draft commitment language along with their specific short-term objectives and long term goals later this Fall.

For more information about the Oakland Public Schools Equity Pledge, please follow the work and sign up for updates.

Word cloud generated from responses to the prompt: “I am part of the Equity Pledge because.”