Strategy and Analysis to Defend and Transform Public Education
Fremont High School students interrupted, shut-down and took over tonight’s OUSD community engagement meeting. Their independent action as students was warmly received by a room full of hundreds of other students, parents, educators, and community members concerned about the potential privatization of 5 OUSD schools.
What follows is the transcript of the speech that dozens of Fremont High School students put forward tonight at the OUSD’s community engagement meeting. We will post more thoughts on what can be learned from these students’ leadership and example in the coming days.
Search Instagram for #IAmFremont for pictures and video of tonight’s student action, and check back on this page for inspiring YouTube clips as they are posted.
The OUSD administrators say that this is not a top down process.
However, the reality is that NONE of the 5 schools requested an RFP process. The OUSD administrators picked this.
The OUSD administrators say this is a transparent process that the community should have input into.
The reality is that we didn’t know about these “community engagement” meetings until the last week before break; this is not a transparent process.
The OUSD administrators say that they understand why there is a lack of trust, and that they want us to trust their leadership this time.
The reality is that the changes they’re proposing will further de-stabilize our schools. First they broke us up into small schools – that was supposed to change everything. Then they put us back together as a whole school – that was supposed to change everything. Now they’re saying we need new administrators and that this is supposed to change everything. This is the same process they’ve been doing – it hasn’t worked, and it won’t work. This is why we don’t trust you – it’s not an emotional reaction, it’s a logical conclusion.
What we want now:
We want community runned meetings, real conversations that lead to our questions getting answered without giving a whole speech and not answer a single question.
We want to put a stop to the process of anyone being able to just come in and propose how to run our schools, our education is not a business or gambling game.
We want real information. You cannot expect to give us piece by piece and thats it. we want to know the real intentions in the process
What we want to stop is the OUSD’s plan; because the OUSD administration is coming with an intention; you’re not really taking our views into consideration because the plan is already being started by you – you’ve proved this through initiating the RFP on your own without our consent; you’ve proved this by giving us information last minute; you’ve proved this by giving us beautiful speeches about improving schools while not being honest about what’s happened before and what you’re really trying to do.
What we want to happen is that students and parents should get stipends to come and write their own plan. We want teachers to get paid time to participate in this planning process too. Fremont should make its own plan. This plan should NOT be in competition with any other plans. Improving schools should not be about business, it should be about community power.