By Kharyshi Wiginton
You said you wanted to be reelected. You said you had the honor and privilege to serve in this role.
You said you were unbought and that you’re ready for four more years.Now, in front of your community, we challenge you to step up. Your service has not been up to par, and today you’re on notice. We demand the following:
- People before private interests! Your job is to serve the people and manage the superintendent, not serve the superintendent and manage the people.
- We want real-time, genuine engagement. Be a presence in our schools, all the time, not just during photo opportunities and when it’s time for elections. Only then will you truly know whether district policies are doing more harm or good to the people they are impacting
- Be a real advocate! Take our voices, desires, wants, and needs with you all the time. Be the bridge between the community, the schools, and the school district. Don’t just “lift up the work,” be connected to it!
(Work to ensure that our greatest good is at the forefront of your decisions and policies.)
- Be an ally, don’t antagonize. You cannot afford to be at odds with any facet of the people in your district. Students are underserved; teachers are overworked, under resourced and underpaid; parents are frustrated and disheartened by the current board and administration; and administrators are forced to make magic out of mayhem. Yet most of the time, they are drowning.
Be their lifeline, their support, and their collaborator. Partner with the teachers’ union, parent groups, and others so that you are working together to strengthen our schools.
- Protect our schools! Make sure that our schools, especially Westlake, Lafayette, and McClymonds are given the true supports that they need in order to thrive, not closed, and not turned into charters.
- Lastly, believe in public education! It is imperative that you stop your pro-charter push, and redirect your energy to rebuild our public schools. Charter schools are a band aid.
You’re either on the side of righteousness or you aren’t. You either stand with the people or you don’t. GO Public Schools and CCSA (California Charter School Association) don’t stand up for our community.
GO’s primary benefactor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, upheld the racist “Stop and Frisk” policy that stripped communities of color in New York City of their civil rights and was responsible for closing more than a hundred public schools.
In addition to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to three school board candidates, CCSA helped fund the fight against rent control measures, like Measure JJ in Oakland, which will be critical to Oakland families being pushed out from their homes by gentrification.
These are the groups that you choose to align yourself with, and in doing that, you’re standing against the people. We know that Oakland is not for sale, and if you don’t start working on our behalf, we will make sure you understand what REAL people power looks like.
Kharyshi Wiginton was a candidate for school board in District 3. She works as an educator at McClymonds High School in West Oakland.