Survey Results - Oakland Public Education Listening Campaign
October 24, 2012
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Over the spring and summer of 2012, GO Public Schools volunteers went door-to-door and did phone banking to talk with Oaklanders about their opinions on public education in our city. We spoke with nearly 800 residents and asked open-ended questions like, "What makes a good school?", "What is the biggest issue facing Oakland today?", and "What makes an effective school board member?".
Most of the survey respondents did not have children or grandchildren in Oakland public schools (nearly two-thirds). Even so, education followed crime as the top issues cited as citywide concerns. For respondents who were caretakers of current students, a majority indicated convenient location as the primary determining factor in their school choice, a nod to proponents of the importance of high-quality local neighborhood campuses. Quality of curriculum was a distant second in terms of how parents and guardians make decisions about where to send their children to school.
When asked what makes a successful school, good teachers reign supreme. More than 3 in 5 respondents cited this factor, with no other single response garnering a double-digit percentage. Also in a landslide, budget shortages were called out by more than half as the top issue currently confronting Oakland Unified.
Residents were asked to describe the impact that the quality of local schools on their neighborhood. Their responses almost uniformly (in different words) cited the importance of quality schools in shaping local youth and maintaining a healthy community.
"Strong schools teach our students respect and work ethic along with helping them build the skill sets to succeed in the workplace and become productive citizens. This encourages pride in the area and positive leadership in the community," said one respondent.
We used the information gathered in this survey in addition to feedback from GO families and educators to make endorsements in the November 2012 elections. We looked for candidates and measures that would work towards more resources for our students, safe schools, effective teaching for every child, and creating a school system that ensures a bright future for every child.See here for a one-pager
that we created with these results and our recommendations to Oakland voters.