California Educator

December/January 2022

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to get from issuing the demands to the school board's approval of all but one. "Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIP O C ) stu d ent s h av e tra dition al ly received very little support, which has created unequal results," says VanCed- ric Williams, OUSD Board of Education member. "is resolution says enough is enough and reverses our policies toward our BIPOC students so they feel healthy and supported, and they succeed." Williams says the groundwork for this movement was built during OEA's 2019 stri ke, w h en educators, fami lies and community groups united to fight for the schools and resources Oakland students deserve. Utilizing these networks, educa- tors put forth community-driven policies, speaking out for families and their needs. "OEA's efforts pushed us over the top," says Williams, who is also a teacher in San Francisco and member of United Educators of San Francisco. "There's this belief in just, fair and equitable educa- tion that overrides the narrative pushed by the district." Taiz-Rancifer says OEA members feel very strongly about the work for equity in Oakland schools. "People see the dis- parities. It becomes very personalized because we are connected to our com- munities and our families." e only demand not approved by the school board in March was the ending of school closures and charter co-locations at schools with high populations of Black and brown students — a huge piece of the Reparations movement. Unbowed, educators and the community continued organizing over the summer, bringing a resolution to the school board in Septem- ber that would have set a moratorium on school closures. The proposal narrowly failed , and educators now look at the coming contract bargaining and 2022 school board elections for ways to make progress on this important item. "e community has been devastated by these closures of historically majority Black schools," Williams says. T H E F O L L O W I N G D E M A N D S were considered by the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education in March. The board approved all but one, noted below, in the Reparations for Black Students Resolution. Stop and Repair the Immediate Harm • Design a community-informed plan for a safe and healthy return to school prioritizing Black students and their families as the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. • Commit to closing the Black digital divide that disproportionately limits access to information and resources to Black families. • End discriminatory discipline practices and disproportionate expulsions and suspensions of Black students. • Stop school closures and co-locations of charter schools at in-district schools — especially at schools with high percentages of Black students. ( This was not approved.) • Stop using the current anti-Black equity formula that unfairly makes cuts to schools with high percentages of Black students. Invest in Reparations for Black Students and Families • Establish a Black Thriving Fund that brings targeted resources and opportunities to secure a just and equitable education for Black students. • Create a real racial equity formula that includes all historical and current factors impacting Black communities. • Adopt a Black Thriving Index to set goals, outcomes and indicators for the district and schools to be held accountable and measure progress toward Black thriving. • Establish a Black Student and Families Thriving Task Force that represents the voices of Black students, parents, families and communities, and has the power to monitor the implementation of targeted plans and resources for Black thriving. Transform Community Schools to Center Black Students • Invest in Black Family Engagement by increasing opportunities to participate in decision-making at the school and district levels. • Ensure that Black students are ready for college and career by providing resources to receive career training and complete "a-g" requirements. • Dramatically increase the literacy rates of Black students across all grades by creating a citywide literacy campaign for Black students. • Prioritize resources for Black academic growth and achievement by assessing how the district uses funds to address the academic and social-emotional needs of Black students across various designations. • Prioritize resources (facilities bond monies) by funding a hub to ensure that Black students in alternative education classes, programs and schools can thrive. • Prioritize resources to create anti- racist cultures of belonging and increase the cultural competence of our educators, staff and their school communities to center Black thriving. • Resource and ensure that all Black families have access to pre-kindergarten early education, including resources and services that support early family engagement. • Provide professional advocacy services to Black families who have children with IEPs. • Recruit and retain Black teachers and Black school leaders by meaningfully supporting and investing in them. Reparations Demands 44 Social Justice

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