The story of a huge Election Day win for students
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Great Oakland Public Schools (GO Public Schools) and Volunteers, Supporters and Allies Win Big In the November Elections, Signaling New Era of Increased Accountability in Oakland
Candidates, Measures and Propositions Backed by GO Public Schools Received City-Wide Support on Election Day Thanks to a Concerted Volunteer Engagement Effort
Oakland, CA - With the election now over and the dust settling, Oakland residents have made their support of Great Oakland Public Schools (GO Public Schools) and its vision for education evident through backing candidates, measures and propositions supported by the education organization.
GO Public Schools and its community partners and allies backed three Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) school board candidates - Jumoke Hinton-Hodge, James Harris, and Rosie Torres - and all three won seats on the board. Additionally, the organization backed Measure J, a local education bond to improve Oakland school facilities, and Propositions 30 and 38, which would bring much needed dollars to schools throughout the state. Measure J also passed, as did Proposition 30.
"We are thrilled by these election results because we believe these individuals will be proactive, student-focused leaders who will work collaboratively and focus on generating resources, fiscal responsibility, and expanding opportunity across the city," said Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of GO Public Schools. "This shows the strength of a community powered effort. When parents and educators from across the city come together and focus on what's good for children, we can get things done."
GO Public Schools is a community advocacy organization based in Oakland that works to empower parent, teacher, business, labor, and community leaders so that, together, they can ensure that every student can attend a great school and every teacher feels supported in the classroom.
"I volunteered my time, recruited neighbors and even walked districts with my kids not only because I believed James Harris would be a great representative for my district, but also because I believe GO is helping improve schools across the city and in the education issues we backed on the ballot," said Mary Prime Lawrence, a mother of three who lives in Oakland's District 7. "I am so proud of all the volunteers who were part of this victory. We're making a difference for students."
During the lead-up to the election, GO Public Schools had nearly 300 volunteers knocking on more than 11,500 doors and making more than 64,000 calls. Additionally, over 300 individuals donated financially to the election effort.
"I came out to phone bank every week for over two months, set up an automatic donation each month, contributed a bit from my paycheck to the effort and even recruited others to volunteers," said Marva McInnis, an Oakland elementary school teacher who has taught for 18 years. "I know that the election results are great news for Oakland's schools. We not only elected effective leaders; we also passed Proposition 30 to avoid budget cuts to schools for one more year."
GO Public Schools began actively engaging parents and educators about the 2012 election in part because they wanted strong leadership on the school board and were concerned that eight of the last 12 school board elections were uncontested. They hosted community meetings, interviewed candidates and sought public input from parents and teachers on OUSD school board candidates and education issues on the ballot. As a result of GO Public Schools' work, all OUSD school board elections were contested and voters had timely, detailed and easy-to-understand information about candidates, propositions and measures.
David Kakishiba, a current OUSD Board Member who has worked with GO Public Schools in the past, stated, "It was good to see so many people interested and engaged about education issues, especially in support of Measure J. I look forward to working with Jumoke, James and Rosie as we implement the OUSD strategic plan and work to improve public schools throughout the city."
Over the coming months, GO Public Schools' plans to launch and continue a number of efforts that will help the community have more information about education issues in the city. GO will also continue supporting parents and teachers to be education leaders and advocates in their community.
Mr. Klein stated, "GO Public Schools knows that the hard work begins now. We want to continue empowering parents and teachers locally and statewide so they are involved in the decision-making process in our schools. With their support, we will advance policies and programs that give every child in Oakland an opportunity to attend a great school and help every teacher access the support they need in their classroom."
GO Public Schools stated that it will leverage the community support that it has developed through years of community outreach to connect with new local and statewide organizations. They will also be a support and hold leaders accountable as they implement Measure J and the OUSD strategic plan - a plan which they have been supportive of since its adoption.