During the 2008-09 school year, our community of families, educators, and community members founded GO with the following vision:
It is the Oakland community’s responsibility to ensure that Oakland public schools prepare all students with the skills and knowledge required for success in college, career, and life. Our children and youth must graduate prepared for work, citizenship, independence, and family life in a democratic community, empowered with the skills and habits of lifelong learners.
This vision is still far from reality in Oakland. At a time when the overwhelming majority of family-wage jobs require post-secondary education, less than two-thirds of Oakland’s students graduate from high school. The picture is even bleaker when we dig deeper: not only do our African-American and Latino students graduate at lower rates than our white students, but only 51% of those who graduate are eligible to attend a UC or CSU. This is, in part, an issue of access. A Latino student is 18 times less likely to attend one of Oakland’s highest performing schools than a white student.
This is morally unacceptable and economically untenable.
We need a dramatic shift in our education system, which will only happen with effective leaders across our system. Oakland needs leaders whose collective focus is on:
We need leaders that work in collaboration with their communities to represent the best interests of students, not adults. We need community leaders that are more concerned about whether a school or program is high quality and accessible to our highest-need children, than about who governs or manages it.
Our children are counting on us, and we need to work together to design solutions and imagine systems that meet to their needs and ensure excellence and equity throughout our city.