STRATEGIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Citywide Education Progress Reports

OAKLAND: Parent-Led Group Pushes OUSD and Charters for Better Schools in Oakland

Oakland has an active and outspoken community when it comes to education, but not all voices have been well represented—especially families most impacted by low-performing schools. The Oakland REACH, a nonprofit parent-led group, has set out to change that.

Founded by an Oakland parent with children in both district and charter schools, The Oakland REACH’s mission is to give parents power with knowledge and tools to press for better schools in Oakland. Started in 2016 with a group of 50 parents identified by principals as those most likely to have frustrations about their schools, this grassroots effort trained these parents on the history of education in Oakland, civil rights, and current challenges.

Approximately 200 parents have been trained via this citywide, cross-sector advocacy fellowship. Many parents from that first group then talked with 1,700 parents at social services offices, malls, parks, rec centers, and on buses, educating them about school quality data and budget information. To date, parents have had over 3,000 1:1s with families in Oakland’s lowest-performing schools.

This “movement of parents” is making itself heard at OUSD board meetings, pushing for increased access to better school options for students in lower-performing schools. They are pushing OUSD on their Blueprint plan to make sure both district and charter schools will change their enrollment practices to provide better access and education for the families that are often left behind. The Oakland REACH cuts across the charter-district divide to put the focus on families and better schools.

View Oakland’s citywide education progress report.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email crpe@uw.edu.