Parents United Changes and Upcoming Events

Dear Oakland Parents & Caregivers:

We began as OUSD Parents United in 2014, when it became clear that OUSD’s priorities included paying exorbitant salaries to top administrators, but not paying classroom teachers enough to live on and raise their families in Oakland. OUSD’s priorities were off, and parents at dozens of schools – first at school sites, but soon working district-wide – collectively demanded that OUSD put the experiences of children first. Oakland parents began working across the district to help collect postcards, attend school board meetings, hold accountability meetings with school board members, and organize a 500 person march.
We are writing today to let you know about some organizational changes we are making based on the realization that Oakland parents and caregivers are still deeply unsatisfied with how the district is being run and we need to step-up our efforts to hold OUSD and our school board accountable.
There is a lot of work to do to change the direction of OUSD. Here are just a few of the most pressing items we need to work on:

  • Reduce Class Sizes: Teachers and students need small class sizes to increase teacher retention and student achievement. Class sizes are too big, while OUSD throws hundreds of thousands of dollars to no-bid contracts, creates new six-figure central office positions, and gives raises to top administrators.
  • Invest in Community Wrap-Around Schools: Until we increase investment and support in Oakland public schools that need them the most, the opportunity gap will continue to grow. We must invest in community wrap-around schools that address the systemic economic and social challenges that lead to struggling schools.
  • End the School-to-Prison Pipeline: The school-to-prison pipeline is real, and the increase of charter schools is making it worse for the most vulnerable children. We need to keep our students in school by increasing school site counselors, strengthening culturally-relevant community partnerships, and increasing teacher supports. We need to keep the police off of school campuses and institutionalize restorative justice practices at at every public school.
  • Stop the Decentralization of the Special Education Program: The process begun this year to massively overhaul SPED is neither clear to, nor inclusive of the people who know best what the Special Education program’s needs are: SPED families and staff.
  • Demand Board of Education Accountability to OUSD-Run Public Schools: The steady growth of charter schools in Oakland has contributed to the destabilization of our public schools in neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of poverty. We must elect school board members who are accountable to Oakland and not out-of-town billionaires and charter school lobbyists who fund their campaigns.

In order to move forward, our steering committee agrees that we need to make important changes as well.  We have heard and agree that – in order to continue to address these critical challenges facing our public schools – we must prioritize the voices of the parents, caregivers and students who are most impacted by OUSD’s misplaced priorities: those in low-income and working class communities of color. We are taking intentional steps toward building a multi-racial organization that reflects this town’s diverse families and communities, all of whom have a stake in democratically-run public schools in Oakland.
We have also changed our name to Parents United for Public Schools, to reflect our deep commitment to democratically-led PUBLIC education.
We are energized and excited about the work ahead, and hope that you are too, because there is much to be done. You may be wondering “What can I do?” Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Hands Off Oakland Public Schools: Next Wednesday, May 25th @5pm, join other Oakland parents, teachers and students on a family-friendly anti-gentrification tour and teach-in linking the corporate takeover of our public schools with the rapid gentrification of Oakland. Facebook event here: Hands Off Oakland Public Schools and more information on our website.
  2. Questioning Common Enrollment: Join us on May 31st at 6pm for “Questioning Common Enrollment in Oakland Schools: Lessons from Around the US and Abroad” – a panel discussion about the effects of common enrollment in Newark, New Orleans and other places from nationally-recognized education experts and OUSD Director Shanthi Gonzales. The event is at Race Forward (900 Alice Street, 3rd Floor). Please RSVP here and share widely!
  3. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and if someone forwarded this to you and you haven’t already, join our email list.
  4. Share this message with your friends and family who also care about public schools in Oakland so they can join us as well. Click here to forward to a friend.

We hope to see you soon!

– Parents United for Public Schools

Hands Off Oakland Public Schools! / ¡Manos fuera de las escuelas públicas de Oakland!

SOSD m25
Wednesday, May 25, 5pm
Kaiser Convention Center Parking Lot (10 10th Street)

(Para leer el español, vea abajo)

Hands off Oakland Public Schools

Wednesday May 25

Kaiser Convention Center Parking Lot

10 10th St

  • 5pm – T-shirt & sign-making
  • 5:30pm – Kid Zone & Rally
  • 5:45pm – Hands off tha Town! Anti-Gentrification Tour & Teach-in

Our Communities know what we need: To transform – not dismantle – Oakland public schools

Decisions are being made without the consent of participation of black & brown families and working-class communities. Join the Schools Oakland Students Deserve coalition to learn about the privatization and planned destabilization of OUSD run schools and how this is connected to gentrification in Oakland.

Schools Oakland Students Deserve is a people of color-led group of parents, teachers, students and community members working to stop the corporate takeover of OUSD.

Follow us on twitter @takebackousd & fb @schoolsoaklandstudentsdeserve

Facebook event page is here:

¡Manos fuera de las escuelas públicas de Oakland!


Miércoles, 25 d mayo

Estacionamiento del Kaiser Convention Center (Centro Kaiser)

10 Calle 10, Oakland

  • 5:00 p.m. Artesania de camisetas y letreros
  • 5:30 p.m. Zona de niños y manifestación
  • 5:45 p.m. ¡Manos fuera de Oakland! Guia y lecciones contra la gentrificación


Nuestras Comunidades saben lo que necesitamos: Transformar – No desmontar – las escuelas públicas de Oakland


Se están tomando decisiones sin el consentimiento de participación de las familias Afro-Americanas y Latinas y comunidades de la clase obrera. Únese a la coalición de Escuelas que los Estudiantes de Oakland Merecen para aprender acerca de la privatización y la desestabilización planificada de escuelas dirigidas por OUSD y cómo esto está conectado a la gentrificación en Oakland.

La coalición de Escuelas que los Estudiantes de Oakland Merecen es un dirigido de personas de color siendo padres, maestros, estudiantes y miembros de la comunidad que trabajan para detener la adquisición corporativa de OUSD.

Nos puede seguir en twitter@takebackousd y facebook@schoolsoaklandstudentsdeserve

What is the Status of the CCSA Lawsuit?

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The California Charter School Association (“CCSA”) sued OUSD claiming our charter friendly district wasn’t being friendly enough and should be handing over prime school sites to charter schools under prop 39. Since then, the board has voted to impose co-locations with charters on 4 district campuses, extended the leases of three schools and approved a potential 30 year lease term for American Indian High School (a school which the board attempted to close several years back). In addition, the District proposed a potential 40 year lease for KIPP at Lafayette Elementary, forcing those families to relocate the elementary students on the West Oakland Middle School campus, that will presumably come up for vote shortly. All of this without a word of what is happening with the CCSA lawsuit for injunctive relief.

Parents United sent a letter today to the board asking for a public update of the status of that lawsuit (you can read the text below). We encourage all parents and community members to call or email the board members and let them know that you also believe that our board should update the community about what is going on in that lawsuit and shine a light on what, if any, deals the District is making with CCSA (an organization that is a member of the Equity Pledge Executive Committee and which was a major donor to the campaigns of 5 of the 7 board members).

Here is the contact information and read on for the letter.

President James Harris (District 7): or 879-2167
Vice President Nina Senn (District 4): or 879-2164
Director Jody London (District 1): or 879-2161
Director Aimee Eng (District 2): or 879-2162
Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3): or 879-2163
Director Roseann Torres (District 5): or 879-2165
Director Shanthi Gonzales (District 6): or 879-2166

Dear Directors,

This letter is to request that this Board issue a status report on the legal action filed against Oakland Unified School District by the California Charter School Association (“CCSA”) on March 8, 2016 in Alameda Superior Court in connection with the Proposition 39 offers. Specifically, we request that this Board answer the following questions:

1.      Is the lawsuit for injunctive and other relief still pending? If yes, are hearings scheduled on this matter? Please provide an update on all action taken or planned on this matter.

2.      What, if any, agreements have been entered into by OUSD and CCSA regarding the lawsuit which would extend the time to respond or suspend action on the lawsuit?

3.      What, if any, agreements have been entered into by OUSD and CCSA regarding the Proposition 39 offers underlying the lawsuit, including but not limited to accommodations at various schools, and/or agreements to offer extended lease terms to requesting parties including but not limited to American Indian and KIPP?

4.      What, if any, agreements have been entered into by OUSD and CCSA regarding any other aspect of this lawsuit not specifically mentioned herein?

OUSD families and the community have the right to be informed of these matters, and given the board’s commitment to transparent leadership, we respectfully request that this matter be placed on the agenda of the next available school board meeting for discussion and public comment in order that the public may be informed of the answers to the above questions.

Respectfully submitted,

Parents United for Public Schools Steering Committee Members

Mona Treviño

Ann Swinburn

Michael-David Sasson

Kim Davis

Tony Daquipa