OP-ED: The Path Forward for Oakland Students

By Ash Solar, Executive Director, GO Public Schools Oakland


With the election behind us, and national issues aside for a moment, the question is: Now what? As someone who cares deeply about students in the Oakland Public Schools, what can I do? 

Like you, I’m glad to see our schools making progress in graduation rates, discipline rates, college readiness and much else. But with only one in three of our kids reading and doing math at grade level, we can’t pause.


The challenges facing our schools will not be solved by standing on the sidelines or throwing rocks at one another. Not only do we all have to get involved in the work to provide students a quality education, but we also have to bring our neighbors too. It will take all of us working together, and through differences of opinions, to ensure all students receive a quality education that prepares them to succeed in college, careers and life.


Here a three of the many ways you can get involved now.


  1. Hold Our School Board Accountable

One of the best ways for people to get involved is to stay updated on what is happening in the school district and to hold our school board members accountable. The school board’s work affects every aspect of students’ education – everything from the money that schools receive, school safety and culture, and what is taught in schools. We cannot afford to only pay attention to the school board during election season. We must go to school board meetings and ask our school board members hard questions about their votes and plans to improve student achievement.


To help families keep stay up to date on the work of the school board and take action, GO has developed Board Watch. Board Watch provides insight into our public education system through the school board’s activity. You can sign up for Board Watch on our website at www.goadvocatesoakland.org.


  1. Make Measure G1 Great

One thing to follow in the coming weeks is the school board’s implementation of Measure G1. The GO network was proud to support Measure G1, which just passed with over 80 percent of Oakland voters and will give educators a raise while helping middle school students receive a well-rounded education, including art, music, and foreign language classes. We must work together to make sure that Measure G1 is realized as it was intended, and that there is accountability and transparency.


  1. Ensure that OUSD Affirms its Support for Sanctuary Schools.

In the wake of an impending Trump presidency and his promise to deport three million people, GO is urging the Oakland school board and all charter schools to update and reaffirm a resolution to protect the rights and safety of immigrant families. You can go to our website to participate in this call to action.


At GO Public Schools Oakland, we will continue to bring parents, educators and community members together to ensure that all public schools, provide all students a high quality and equitable education. We hope that you will join us. To get involved, go to www.goadvocatesoakland.org.

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  1. Ish

    Ash Solar supports a school system that continuously pushes out and under serves students with Special Needs. The policies of GO and Ash are hurtful to students with special needs. So sad!!! Signed a SPED Advocate

  2. Deirdre Snyder

    As a teacher at Oakland Tech, I certainly want to hold the School Board accountable, but what I see are diversionary tactics. What I want is to have teachers in all classrooms – instead of HR sitting on new hires. What I want is support for teachers with disruptive students so that the rest of the students can learn. What I want is appropriate text books, What I want is a functional copy machine with paper and toner! Downtown puts out glossy photos and we give our kids blurry papers. What I want is RESPECT for the amazing job my colleagues do at low wages while the superintendent makes as much as POTUS. What I want is a School Board that understands what is really happening in Oakland and values the importance of public education and does not want to pass it off to private corporations who have no understanding of how to teach or how to reach our children.

  3. Deirdre Snyder

    As an Oakland Unified School District teacher, at Oakland Technical High School, I really support the idea of holding the School Board accountable. I want to know why we do not have qualified teachers in all classrooms- why when we hire a teacher it takes months for her to get to the classroom. And where is the support for the teacher dealing with students who are disruptive

  4. Jan Malvin

    So, who are these “parents, educators and community members” that GO brings together? Judging from contributors to the GO super PAC, Families and Educators for Public Education, the GO “community” does not represent the diverse perspectives of Oakland residents. It primarily consists of pro-charter school community members. In addition, 94% of the total GO PAC donations are from four pro-charter lobbyists: Arthur Rock ($49,900), Gary Rogers ($49,900), Parent Teacher Alliance/California Charter Schools Association ($91,250) and Michael Bloomberg ($300,000).

  5. Don Macleay

    Yeah, I can see why they want the election behind them and to change the conversation.

    Because as the public learns about the money spent and the influence exercised, it will be hard to justify or for GO to claim any ethical credibility.

  6. Bethany Meyer

    Community members plan to take Mr. Solar’s suggestion to hold this school board accountable. We don’t trust school board candidates who accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from out of town Republican billionaires, funneled through Mr. Solar’s organization, Great Oakland Public Schools. Readers may be interested to know that, like our President elect, Ash Solar is an ally of the charter school movement. What we want are Quality, Accountable, Inclusive, Community led Public Schools. Charter schools are not public schools.

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