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Mobilization Against Oakland School Closures January 28th
by Jonah
Saturday Jan 17th, 2004 12:19 PM

Mobilization to Stop the Closure of 5 Oakland Schools, Wednesday, January 28th, 4PM- at least 9PM (you can come for part of the time) Oakland School Board Meeting, Rally at 4PM outside the District Building at 1025 2nd Avenue, near Lake Merrit BART.
1. Announcement of January 28th Mobilization
2. Monclarion Article on School Closures
3. Call to Action for January 28th


Mobilization to Stop the Closure of 5 Oakland Schools, Wednesday, January 28th, 4PM- at least 9PM (you can come for part of the time) Oakland School Board Meeting, Rally at 4PM outside the District Building at 1025 2nd Avenue, near Lake Merrit BART. Don't let Randy Ward divide us! He has picked the poorest schools who have the least power to mobilize and organize to target for closure. An injury to one is an injury to all!!

The Dirt on Randy Ward...


The Montclarion
Friday, January 16, 2003

Staff, parents push to keep schools open
By Mike Adamick

Supporters of five schools spent the week gathering as much information as possible to keep their doors open, after a short list of closures was announced Jan. 9.

East Oakland's Burbank Elementary School, for instance, heralds a $600,000 grant meant to improve the school grounds and provide playgrounds for students and neighborhood children.

Longfellow Elementary School in North Oakland recently won an award for its work to curb asthma.

The five schools are digging up what they can to save their schools, as the state-controlled school system looks to pare down an expected $20 million budget deficit. Supporters of three other schools -- John Swett (K-8), Longfellow and Toler Heights elementaries -- also hoped to avoid closure at the end of the school year.

After a contentious public meeting Jan. 8, local schools chief Randolph Ward winnowed a list of 13 schools down to five.

Originally, Ward had planned to hold more meetings this week and then announce a final decision the following week. But in light of the public outcry, he moved to streamline a painful process.

Still, Ward plans to meet with individual schools and staff in the coming weeks to finalize the list of closures, he said.

District spokesman Ken Epstein said Ward will examine academic programs, after-school programs, environmental studies or other factors that could keep the schools open.

"But unless something unforeseen comes up, this is it," Epstein said.

Meanwhile, parents and teachers at the schools are gathering information they hope will keep their schools open.

"We are trying to organize at this point," said Burbank teacher Stephanie Allen. "There's just a lot of questions teachers have."

Since Ward announced potential closures Dec. 23, moral has hit the skids, she said.

"It's demoralizing -- with so many unanswered questions, we don't know what to do next," she said.

At John Swett, teachers and other staff at the Laurel district facility said the same process of information gathering is taking place.

At Burbank, longtime volunteer Patricia Durham said the school recently received a $600,000 grant from the Trust for Public Lands to fix up playgrounds.

"That's a big loss to the Oakland Unified School District and the neighborhood," she said. "He (Ward) hasn't heard much about what's going on at Burbank."


Statement by the Equal Opportunity Now Caucus of the Oakland Education Association. The Oakland Education Association as a whole is supporting the mobilization on January 28th. Please address comments or responses to the members of the Caucus listed at the bottom.

Rally and Speak-out of Fifteen Hundred

Wins Major Victory in the Fight Against Oakland School Closings!

Come to the Rally and School Board Meeting Wednesday,

Jan 28 4:00 PM at the White House (1025 Second Ave)

Stop all School Closings!

Oust Oakland Schools Trustee Randolph Ward!

On Thursday night the mass mobilization of Oakland parents, students, teachers, other school workers and community members secured a major victory against the would-be schools dictator Randolph Ward. 1,500 people turned out to protest and speak out against Ward’s threat to close thirteen elementary and middle schools. By the end of the next day Ward had retreated, cutting his list of potential school closings from thirteen to five. Ward admitted that he was going to “slow down� the whole process of school closings, and promptly cancelled next week’s hearings, to prevent thousands more angry Oakland students, teachers and parents from storming the White House (downtown administration building).

Ward failed to weaken and limit our mobilization by holding the hearing in the 140 person capacity board room, surrounded by Oakland police and OUSD security guards. The crowd quickly filled the board room and 400-person overflow room, leaving nearly a thousand more people to rally in front of the administration building, locked out by a police cordon.

Mark Airgood, Equal Opportunity Now (EON) teachers’ union caucus leader and BAMN civil rights organizer, led the rally on the outside for over an hour and a half, with elementary and middle school students, parents and community members, teachers and members of other school unions speaking one after another to demand that all schools remain open and that Ward abandon his plan to impose corporate downsizing on the Oakland schools. Parents and students spoke repeatedly and passionately about the centrality of the schools in giving them hope for the future. Other BAMN and EON supporters spoke out demanding an end to Ward’s stranglehold on the Oakland schools, and for restoration of Oakland’s right to elect our school board.

The mass meeting outside voted unanimously to demand that all schools be kept open and to continue building mass demonstrations at school board meetings until this demand was met. Everyone also voted to bring another friend or family member to the next rally to increase our numbers even more.

Inside the school board room, Ward posted police at the entrance and the speakers’ podium in a cowardly attempt to intimidate the speakers. The crowd was not deterred. Groups of students, parents, teachers, other school personnel and community members from each of the threatened schools demanded that their schools remain open.

The meeting continued until near midnight with completely unanimous opposition to Ward’s attack on the youth of Oakland. Speakers increasingly focused their anger on Ward himself, comparing his betrayal of black and other minority youth in Oakland to the betrayals of the black community by black Republicans Clarence Thomas and Ward Connerly. One speaker read the Dallas Morning News’ (9/20/00) revelation that Ward was registered with the American Independent Party (AIP), a libertarian party which advocates eliminating affirmative action and bilingual programs, denying public education to children of undocumented workers and repealing the US Voting Rights Act.

In this, the year of the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the struggle to realize the historic promise of equality continues. Ward’s program is the Republican program, i.e., shut down schools and run those that remain open on a corporate model -- forcing each to compete for scarce resources against the others -- constantly threatening all public schools with the same fate. Ward’s program would deepen inequality between schools and force minority and poor students into increasingly impoverished and segregated schools. It seeks to destroy public education, a central gain of the civil rights movement, in order to pave the way for charter schools, vouchers, and privatization.

Oakland has a long and proud history of struggle and organizing. We will not allow Ward to downsize the schools as he did for over six years in Compton. Randolph Ward must go!

We must end the disenfranchisement of the Oakland community, return to a locally elected and accountable school board, and elect people who will fight for the Oakland schools. In times of fiscal crises we need more community oversight and control over decision making, not the imposition of a School Czar.

Come out and bring your friends to speak-out and protest at the next school board meeting on Wednesday, January 28, 4:00 pm 1025 Second Avenue.

Equal Opportunity Now (EON) Caucus & The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight For Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)

For More Information:

Yvette Felarca – 510-502-9072

Mark Airgood – 510-978-0846

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Santa Cruz Schools Selected for Closure Unfairlyget involvedWednesday Jan 28th, 2004 2:34 AM
Santa Cruz Schools Selected for Closure Unfairlyget involvedWednesday Jan 28th, 2004 2:33 AM
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