Strategy and Analysis to Defend and Transform Public Education
This press release was sent to us by staff at Castlemont who are organizing a rally with students to demand the district provide them with equitable resources and a guarantee their school wil not be closed. They are asking for supporters to join them for their rally at 3:30pm tomorrow. More information follows…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—June 5th, 2013
Castlemont High Staff, Teachers, Students Outraged by Neglect and Threats of Closure
School Community Rallies, Demands OUSD Address Inequalities
WHAT: Rally and Press Conference
WHEN: Thursday June 6th, 3:30-4:30pm
WHERE: Castlemont High School 8601 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, Ca. 94605
On June 6th, Castlemont Students, teachers, Alumni, parents and community partners will hold a rally and press conference in front of Castlemont High School to bring attention to rampant neglect, dwindling resources, and lack of basic safety. Castlemont High School community members are demanding immediate action from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) as well as guarantees that long-unaddressed neglect faced by the school does not lead to its closure.
“Our school is tired of the dismal support on behalf of the District and we join together to demand accountability from the District to fully serve the needs of our students and school community,” says Candice Valenzuela, a teacher and one of the organizers of Thursday’s rally. “Every child has a right to a quality education and the District cannot continue making Castlemont High School the exemption.”
Throughout the past 3 years, Castlemont has faced the destabilizing effects of the OUSD ‘reassignment’ of three principals, and the consolidation of smaller schools into one large school. The school district recently decided to remove Castlemont’s current principal just one year after he was voted into the position. The decision was made behind closed doors. Community members have been outraged that the principal’s removal was revealed after it was too late for school stakeholders toexercise their district mandated right to weigh in on principal selections.
“Castlemont High School has been set up for failure,” says Marguerite Sheffer, a 4th year Castlemont Teacher. “The issue of inequality is at the forefront of these decisions—whether that be around having to compete with charter schools for funding, basic lack of safety, lack of on-site case managers, or under-resourced programs for special-needs students. These issues disproportionately affect students of color and Castlemont is severely impacted by the racial disparities that exist within OUSD.”
The coalition of teachers, students, parents, staff, community partners, and administrators who are speaking out against conditions at Castlemont liken their fight to the protracted struggles for public education in Chicago in 2012. “We intend to be relentless in our agitation against OUSD policies and mandates that continuously undermine our integrity as an educational institution; dehumanize our students, families, and staff; and violate the rights of our youth to equitable access to fully resourced, effective public schools,” says Michelle Espino, a tenured Castlemont Teacher.
Thursday’s rally will open with a press conference and will feature lively speakers and colorful artwork. Spokespeople will be available for interviews throughout the day.
PROTECT OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION : PROTECT CASTLEMONT
1. We Demand Castlemont facilities be fully functioning, equipped to support a safe campus, and technologically up to date.
2. We demand that the district provide adequate training and support for teachers and administrators.
3. We demand that Castlemont’s Special Education Program be fully staffed and supported by PEC.
4. We demand that our Security Officers are adequately trained, and that resources are amassed to provide a safe passage for students coming to and leaving school.
5. We demand that the OUSD make a commitment to keep Castlemont open for at least 5years.
Please call the following people to make our Demands be heard
· Gary Yee (OUSD Superintendent) : firstname.lastname@example.org
· Maria Santos (Assistant Superintendent) : email@example.com
· Allison MacDonald (NEXO) : firstname.lastname@example.org
· James Harris (School Board Member representing Castlemont) : email@example.com
· Barb MacClung (Over Security, Health and Wellness for OUSD) :firstname.lastname@example.org