Alameda County Voters Must Vote for A Superintendent Who Supports Our Kids

Alameda County Voters Must Vote for A Superintendent Who Supports Our Kids

Earlier this year, in response to severe budget concerns, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) approved the closure of seven public school sites, displacing more than 1,500 students, or the equivalent of nearly 19 school buses worth of kids. These sites, as well as those affected by previous school closures, must now be offered to various charter school organizations.

Charter schools, which were first developed in the 1970s as an alternative track geared towards improving student success through an increase in teacher and administrator agency, have, in recent years, gained considerable traction. Presently, there are more than 50 charter schools within Alameda County, with 44 of these operating within OUSD alone.

Because of their lack of oversight, it is difficult to capture generalized issues when it comes to charter schools. However, there are a few trends that are universal. Firstly, charter schools suspend children with disabilities and children of Color at a much higher rate than public schools. Secondly, charter schools have received a substantial level of heat for their tendency to serve a disproportionate number of minority students, whilst simultaneously hiring under qualified and non-racially representative educators. In fact, the NAACP has requested that the expansion of the charter system be halted until policy and practices can be established that prevent this racial disproportionality and increase these schools’ degree of accountability. Thirdly, charter schools, which admit students via lotteries and other randomized practices, and have a teacher turnover rate 130% higher than that of public schools, foster a climate of extreme precariousness. Children and their families have a right to educational security and to schools that are prepared to support their students’ intersectional needs. Consistent, high-quality, culturally humble education should be non-negotiable for all kids.

It is therefore of the utmost importance that Alameda County constituents vote in support of a superintendent candidate who is committed to holding educational institutions accountable. A candidate like Alysse Castro.

Castro, who earned her Master’s in Educational Leadership from UC Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Institute, where she now serves as an instructor, is the current Executive Director of Court, County and Continuation High Schools for San Francisco Unified School District. In addition to the transformative work she does in these spaces, Castro has a long history of working in a leadership capacity at several local public schools where she has been instrumental in creating policies that seek to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and promote educational equity for all children.

Kids shouldn’t have to fight for their education and their futures should not be decided by lotteries. It should be decided by those who know what it means and what it takes to create and maintain stable, supportive, and equitable schools for all.

A vote for Castro is a vote for our kids
Election Day is June 7. Early voting and voting-by-mail begins May 9. The deadline to register to vote is May 23.
Please register and please vote for Alysse Castro for Alameda County Superintendent of Schools.

Claudia Francis is a Bay Area resident.