Prior to 2012, Oakland school board elections had historically been narrowly watched, with limited expenditure of limited funds, mostly raised from local donors. In 2012 that all changed when GO Public Schools, through its Political Action Committee (PAC), raised $184,000 from organizations and individuals, many from outside of Oakland. GO used those funds to elect School Board candidates who went on to support the market reform agenda of their big money donors: the expansion and proliferation of charter schools, at the expense of our traditional public schools.
District 1 has twice elected Jody London to be its representative on the School Board. In 2008, Director London ran against Brian Rogers — a founder of GO Public Schools — and won. In the next election, in 2012, Jody won again, without the endorsement of GO, who did not endorse in that race. In 2013, Director London publicly declared that she would not vote for any more charter schools in Oakland, a position that was contrary to positions taken by GO and its major donors, the Rogers family and the California Charter School Association. But times have changed, Director London has voted to approve charter schools, including, most recently, a school that GO founder Brian Rogers sits on the board of. This year, Jody London has been endorsed by GO Public Schools as their candidate of choice in District 1.
We believe it is time for a change in District 1. Jody used to be an independent voice on the board, but she no longer is. Parents United for Public Schools believes that Donald Macleay will be an independent voice for parents who believe that we need to focus on creating and supporting strong public schools, not privately-managed charter schools. Accordingly, Parents United joins the Oakland Education Association, the Oakland Justice Coalition, and numerous others in endorsing Don Macleay for School Board in District 1.
The contrast between Don’s answers to our candidate questionnaire, and Jody’s answers, is troubling:
- Don believes that we need to end the school-to-prison pipeline by providing restorative justice counselors and a decreased police presence on every campus. Jody isn’t sure.
- Don understands that we need enrollment reform, not common enrollment. Jody isn’t sure.
- Don does not support an “Equity Pledge” that hasn’t come from community needs or demands and which doesn’t hold charter schools accountable. Jody isn’t sure.
- Don believes that the OUSD office tasked with ensuring oversight of our charter schools should be fully staffed with independent staff members who have the training and experience to hold charter schools accountable. Jody isn’t sure.
- Don has committed to refusing campaign contributions from organizations or individuals which have an agenda of charter proliferation. Jody isn’t sure.
In this time of unprecedented spending by wealthy individuals and organizations from outside of Oakland, we need someone who is sure they will not be politically influenced, and who will focus on keeping public schools public, transparent and accountable. Don’s campaign motto is “Accountability Matters.” We believe that Don Macleay will be accountable to parents, students, teachers and community leaders. We believe that Don will hold charter schools accountable for serving all students. We believe that Don Macleay is the best candidate in District 1.
Without GO behind him, Don will need our help in reaching out to voters in District 1. Come meet Don on Wednesday, September 28th at 6:30 p.m. at an open education forum at 4920 Telegraph Avenue. Go to Don’s website to volunteer or to make a donation: http://www.don4ousd.org/ Let’s continue to work to take back our school district and keep our public schools public, and elect Don Macleay to the School Board in District 1.
You can read Don’s complete answers to our candidate questionnaire by clicking here.