Oakland NAACP and Co-Petitioners Demand Changes to Reading Program to Reach All Students

Community Groups, Nonprofits, and Universities Join the Oakland NAACP Calling on Oakland Unified School District's Board of Education to Take Eight Critical Steps to Improve Student Literacy Outcomes in Virtual Town Hall Meeting; Virtual Press Conference Announcing Community Support Set for Wednesday Morning

Led by the NAACP's Oakland chapter, nonprofit organizations, universities, and individuals have joined together as a broad-based community coalition and filed an Addendum with the Oakland Unified School District's Board of Education (OUSD Board) in support of a formal administrative petition demanding the improvement of student reading outcomes. The organizations are highlighting the petition's eight key actions that the OUSD Board should take, such as ensuring the adopted reading curricula have significant evidence of helping improve student achievement. The coalition hopes that its joint administrative petition will serve as a template for school districts across the country seeking to improve student reading outcomes.

"The petition and town hall are the result of the ongoing civil rights issues in OUSD, where African-American students' low reading scores undermine their chances in life. We have worked with the district, in good faith, but we can't wait any longer. The changes listed in the petition are long overdue and need to happen now," said Cynthia Adams, Chair of the Oakland NAACP Education Committee.

The administrative petition seeking to improve reading outcomes can be viewed here. The petitioners will highlight the eight key actions in a virtual 90-minute town hall meeting co-sponsored by the OUSD Board President (and another director) on Thursday, March 18, at 5:30 p.m. PT. https://tinyurl.com/LiteracyTownHall 

Groups and individual co-petitioners for the requested changes include:

  • The Latino Education Network
  • The Ikuna Group
  • State of Black Education - Oakland
  • Decoding Dyslexia - California
  • Dyslexia Alliance for Black Children
  • Oakland Literacy Coalition
  • Equity Allies for OUSD
  • Holy Names University School of Education
  • Holy Names University Educational Therapy Program
  • Mills College, School of Education
  • Public Health Justice Collective
  • Anne E. Cunningham, Professor Graduate School of Education, UC Berkeley
  • Michael C. Lu, Dean of the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
  • Harry Snyder, Lecturer at the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley

In OUSD, 60% of African-American, Latino and Pacific Islander students are reading multiple years below grade level. This situation is harmful to students, their families and the public by undermining students' future educational and career opportunities.

"In the past, the Latino Education Network has recommended that OUSD place greater emphasis on literacy programs given the unacceptable literacy scores experienced by Latino students. That is why we are strongly in support of the changes that the administrative petition is seeking," said Victor Martinez of the Oakland Latino Education Network (LEN).

"The NAACP's petition is a wake-up call for the Oakland Board of Education. They must focus their authority and privilege to ensure talent, time, and resources are directed appropriately to improve the literacy for Black students of Oakland; they must also commit to effective governance, authentic community engagement, establishing student goals, and measuring student outcomes. We want to see all students have greater access to economic opportunities, successful futures, and healthy lifestyles. The literacy pathway leads to liberation," said Jumoke Hinton of the State of Black Education - Oakland.

The media is invited to attend a virtual press conference with petitioning organizations and affected individuals to learn more about the administrative petition, and the upcoming literacy town hall, on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time:

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Meeting ID: 487 267 7197

About NAACP Oakland

NAACP is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. To this end, the NAACP's Oakland chapter is active in researching and outreach to promote literacy best practices throughout the Oakland Unified School District. To learn more about the campaign to improve student literacy outcomes in Oakland, visit https://acoach.org/campaigns/literacy-oakland.

Source: Oakland NAACP