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What is the Academic Quality like in Oakland public schools?

Based on 2021-2022 district wide SBAC data, Oakland public school students across all races/ethnicities are not on grade level for ELA or Math. This phenomenon is especially true for Black and Latino Oakland students, students with IEPs, and ELL students. 80% of Black Oakland public school students cannot read at grade level, and 90% cannot do math at grade level. Similarly, 80% of Latinx students are not on grade level for ELA and math.

While these rates have seen marginal increases over the last 9 years, at the current rate it would take 80 years or 4 generations for the majority of Black and Latinx students in Oakland public schools to be grade level proficient in ELA and math. Our children cannot wait that long and they deserve educational environments and systems-wide changes that support their academic achievement to be the leaders of the Oakland community of tomorrow.


How did we get here?

These unacceptable proficiency rates represent larger problems of racial disparities in the town as at least half of white and asian students in Oakland public schools are proficient in ELA and math. The racial gap in ELA and math proficiency rates is growing and while there is much research needed to cut this issue, our we believe there is a lack of:

1. Data transparency in schools between school leaders, educators and the family, causing a lack of significant relationship between student and family unit and school site and therefore reactionary versus proactive interventions for below grade level students; 

2. Accountability for Oakland public schools with exceptionally low rates of grade level proficiency in ELA and math for Black and Latino students from the top (school board) and grassroots (families) levels. 

3. Families do not feel empowered to hold schools accountable for failing their children nor do they understand or have the tools to partner with schools to be apart of solutions-oriented changes for better outcomes at their child’s schools site, and similarly school leaders do not have systems in place to develop relationships with families to partner with them on solutions to address disparities in ELA and math data.

FIA is taking action

The Families in Action Raise the Bar for Academic Quality Campaign aims to build partnership with school leaders, parent and youth leaders at 15 school sites and 5 elected officials with power to improve student outcomes to create systems wide changes that address the severe and urgent needs of Black and Latinx Oakland public school students and channel power to measurable impact on quality, equity and access to quality education by:

  • Developing and implementing site-specific organizational and leadership development at FIA partner schools.

  • Family-led research to cut issue around increasing access to quality education in Oakland.

  • Civic engagement– most urgently, increasing awareness about the District 5 school board election.

Raise the Bar Goals

To increase the quality of education for all students in OUSD. Our Raise the Bar campaign involves three levels of engagement.

Level One: Partner with schools to provide families transparency of data & support their students get to get to grade level. 

Level Two: Create [agentic] parent led teams in schools across the district who are able to understand and speak to the data story of their child, their child’s school performance and the overall quality of public education in Oakland.

Level Three: Align the various parent leadership teams and leverage that power with appointed and elected district officials that are capable of influencing decisions that impact the quality of their children’s education.

Want to learn more or get involved?

Contact us at and we will get you in touch with one of our organizers. 

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