On March 3rd, voters in Alameda County Board of Education Trustee Area 2, which represents Alameda and parts of Oakland (much of East Oakland and parts of Fruitvale, Chinatown, Downtown, and West Oakland) will have an important choice to make: to vote for the billionaire-backed status-quo or for real change for our students.
The candidate for change is Angela Normand, a 13-year award-winning teacher of the year in Brentwood Unified School District who was born in East Oakland and now lives in Alameda. Angela is a retired Marine, a leader in her school district and her union, and a special education teacher who has a real foundation in service and has learned, through experience, how to fight for students.
Last February, when the whole Oakland community together stood on picket lines and marched through the streets to demand smaller class sizes, more supports for their students, and an end to the teacher retention crisis in Oakland, Angela stood by their side. As an advocate for students, those issues are her issues. This year, while the Alameda community is working to pass Measure A to keep experienced educators in their schools, Angela has been knocking on doors with them. As an educator and community member, those are also her issues.
Alameda County students in county, district and charter schools deserve an unapologetic advocate and experienced educator on the Alameda County Board of Education – someone who will represent all public school students and families, and not outside billionaires. That candidate for change is Angela Normand. Angela is endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic party, the Alameda Labor Council, the Oakland Education Association, the Alameda Education Association, Assembly Member Rob Bonta, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, State Senator Nancy Skinner, the Wellstone Democratic Club, East Bay Young Democrats, the Green party, and the Stonewall Democratic Club, among many others.
Angela is running against an incumbent who is backed by outside billionaires with their own agenda – to undermine and privatize our public school system. When Angela’s opponent was first elected to this position in 2016, over 90 percent of her campaign funding, totaling over $21,000, came from the charter school lobby — the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) — which also spent an additional $8,200 to support her through an independent expenditure (IE).
CCSA got their money’s worth. Far from an independent voice on the County Board of Education, from the incumbent’s first board meeting in July 2016 until today, she has voted on charter school issues 24 times1, and voted with the charter school industry on 23 of those votes.2 Here are two of these votes that were particularly troubling:
- In December 2019, Yu Ming charter school — a school that is authorized by the Alameda County Board of Education and located in North Oakland — came before the board with a request to nearly triple its size. Yu Ming has been repeatedly chastised by the county board for its long exclusionary history of failing to enroll a student body reflective of Oakland’s children. Oakland public education advocates opposed the expansion, citing the school’s significant under-enrollment of African-American and Latino students, English-language learners, and students with disabilities. The Board of Education voted almost unanimously to reject the expansion, with the incumbent as one of only two votes for expansion, completely disregarding the charter school’s failure to serve all students.
- In February 2013, Latitude charter school came to the Alameda County Board on appeal after the Oakland school board denied their petition because, in part, the
proposed charter was merely a duplication of an existing program at OUSD’s Fremont High School, into which OUSD has recently made more than $150 million in facility investments. The OUSD board had multiple reasons to deny, as the district was already struggling under a $57 million annual cost of the previous unchecked growth of charter schools, and the charter school chain proposing Latitude was financially struggling to keep one of its other schools open. Parents, educators and students in Oakland organized strong opposition to this petition, including OUSD students who asked County Board members not undermine their schools. The incumbent was one of only two votes that ignored the community’s concerns and supported the charter school lobby’s position, voting for the school.
Charter school appeals are certainly not the only issues that come before the Alameda County Board of Education, but they are the reason why billionaires like the Walton Family (heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune), Netflix CEO (and financier of anti-choice lawmakers) Reed Hastings, Gap co-founder (and Dark Money donor) Doris Fisher, and the California charter school lobby are innundating Area 2 voters with mail, social media ads, and canvassers to re-elect their incumbent. However, as Oakland teachers taught us last year, BILLIONAIRES CAN’T TEACH OUR KIDS! Let’s unite with parents, families and educators to stop them. Vote for Angela Normand on March 3.
Angela’s website is: http://www.AngelaNormand.com
Angela’s Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaNormand4ACBOE/
1 Appeals, material revisions (requests to expand, change enrollment requirements, change facilities, and other), and renewals
2 Review of Alameda County Board of Education meeting minutes, July 2016 to Present. The incumbent voted against the appeal for Hayward Collegiate Charter School on September 11, 2018. It is not entirely clear why the incumbent opposed the petition, but based on her comments during the public hearing, she seemed to be concerned about how the school would achieve the necessary enrollment to meet its financial obligations and be successful. This was not a concern raised by ACOE staff, or other trustees, and makes us wonder whether her concerns were shaped by the impact the opening of a new school would have on other charter schools in Hayward. However, we are counting this as a vote against the charter lobby’s wishes because the CCSA spoke in support of the petition.