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2012 Policy Platform

Elections Platform - Empowered Schools: Success for All Students

We must invest in proven strategies to improve student outcomes. The following policy priorities include short- and long-term goals to propel Oakland's public schools forward. These policy priorities draw on our founding vision statement, signed by hundreds of educational and civic leaders, and our current understanding of the needs of Oakland public schools. Our students deserve education champions in elected leadership willing to stand up for students and a stronger education system. They cannot wait.

1. Invest in Our Children

From GO's Founding Vision Statement: All of us can help create conditions for teachers and schools that best support student learning and achievement...Community partners such as business, labor, nonprofit, and faith organizations must align their financial, human, and community resources toward supporting student academic success.

·         Education champions support increasing state revenue through initiatives and political action to fully fund public education in California.

·         Education champions work with the community to develop local revenue sources such as parcel taxes and bond measures to support critical local needs.

·         Education champions engage the private funding community to support district initiatives and student needs.

·         Education champions work to ensure that existing and new resources such as Local Control Funding Formula are used effectively.

2. Ensure Effective Teaching

From GO's Founding Vision Statement: We must focus on ensuring effective teaching in every Oakland classroom. Current studies confirm that among in-school factors, effective teaching is the single most important factor in student learning. Further, effective teaching can close achievement gaps and overcome the impact of poverty on student learning and educational attainment.

·         Education champions prioritize increasing teacher compensation to ensure that OUSD attracts and retains highly-skilled educators.

·         Education champions work to ensure that teacher assignment policies increase student access to effective teaching and allow school communities a strong voice in determining the composition of their staff.

·         Education champions work to create a fair evaluation system that includes multiple measures of good teaching and student growth, and emphasizes professional growth and support for teachers.

·         Education champions work to ensure that principals are given the training and support necessary to provide strong instructional leadership and fair, meaningful evaluations of staff.

·         Education champions work to create teacher career and leadership pathways that ensure that Oakland's best teachers deeply influence policy and decision-making, and lead to greater responsibility, compensation, and mentoring of other teachers.

3. Empower School Communities

From GO's Founding Vision Statement: We need a system of schools where principals are responsible for managing the most important decisions affecting their schools, including personnel decisions, so that schools are the unit of change. Decisions should be made by those who are closest to children - principals, teachers, and families. Resources should be distributed equitably and follow students to schools.

·         Education champions work with parents, teachers, principals, and district leaders to implement OUSD's "theory of action" to ensure that school communities have local decision-making authority to determine school site budget, staff, curriculum, and schedule.

·         Education champions create district policies that equitably distribute funding based on student needs and maximize the resources available to school sites.

4. Promote Innovation and Ensure Quality

From GO's Founding Vision Statement: Oakland should become a student-outcomes oriented center for innovation and achievement in education.

·         Education champions ensure OUSD's Quality Schools Assessment and Charter School Review processes hold all schools to high standards, evaluate them fairly, and support school's improvement in meeting their students' needs.

·         Education champions increase student access to quality educational options by working to ensure that all public schools are successful whether traditional district, charter, or partner schools.

·         Education champions promote programmatic innovation - building on both traditional and charter school successes such as Manzanita SEED, Korematsu Discovery Academy, ASCEND, and Yu Ming - while creating conditions such that innovative school designs and "diverse providers" thrive within Oakland.

·         Education champions ensure that OUSD closes the "digital divide" and uses new technology tools effectively to prepare students for life and work in the 21st century.

5. Increase Accountability to Community

From GO's Founding Vision Statement: Families and community must be seen as allies in the work of educating Oakland students. We must commit to work together to create strong and purposeful partnerships for positive change and improvement. Establishing a culture of openness and collaboration is essential. Ultimately, it is to the families and the community that all school and central office employees are accountable.

·         Education champions advocate for transparency in district decision-making and promote innovations such as data sharing agreements that help OUSD and partners better serve students.

·         Education champions will support the development and implementation of OUSD's family and community engagement standards.

·         Education champions ensure that the school board sets high, clear expectations that district initiatives provide: (1) measurable goals and deadlines, (2) clear ownership for work, and (3) regular updates of progress.

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