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Deliver Equity: Get Oakland to invest in literacy for Black male youth

Improve literacy rates, reduce school suspensions and lower the number of referrals to special education by providing a classroom resources and an expert reading tutor for every first grade Black male youth reading below grade level in the Oakland Unified School District.

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School photo shoot at Hallett Academy in January 2016.
School photo shoot at Hallett Academy in January 2016.

Issue Area: Education     |     Campaign Type: Local (Oakland, CA)

$275

donated towards $1,000 campaign goal

9

campaign supporters

21

days to go

Your donation will be refunded if the campaign does not achieve $1,000 in donations or get over 100 supporters by Friday, October 23, 2020 12:00 AM PST.

Campaign

Campaign Goal

Apply an equity lens and commit to providing additional educational support for Black male youth to ensure that they’re reading at grade level when they advance from the first grade to the second grade.

 

The Harm Caused by Under Investing in the Education of Black Male Youth

Black people, and male youth in particular, face dramatic inequality in Oakland, California. 

A Black child born in East Oakland has a life expectancy 15 years less than a child born in the affluent Oakland hills [1]. On top of this, Alameda County homicide rates are nearly eight times greater in high poverty neighborhoods compared to affluent neighborhoods.

The educational data for Black male youth paint a similarly unequal picture. In the 2018-19 academic year, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) released the following data [2]:

  • For every White male that was suspended in OUSD, 14 African American males were suspended.
  • 57.6% of African American male grade school (Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade) students were evaluated as “Multiple Years Below Grade Level,” while only 17.9% of White male grade school students were evaluated as “Multiple Years Below Grade Level.”
  • When it came to percent of 8th grade students who were ready for high school, 80.9% of African American boys were assessed as not ready, while 47.7% of white males were assessed as not ready.

Research highlights the value of reading interventions at the first grade level, since if you don't close the gap early, the Matthew Effect takes hold. In the words of researcher Keith Stanovich, who wrote about the Matthew Effect, "Slow reading acquisition has cognitive, behavioral, and motivational consequences that slow the development of other cognitive skills and inhibit performance on many academic tasks."[3]

Interventions Work
Research has shown that classroom instruction can "potentially help over 90 percent of early elementary students read on grade level, at least in terms of word reading ability; this percentage may increase to 97–99 percent when secondary intensive intervention is provided by experts. In fact, the central premise of Response to Intervention is that reading difficulties can be prevented for most children through well-implemented evidence-based early instruction and intervention. Contrast these percentages with rates of children whose reading comprehension scores are below basic on the fourth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (33 percent on average, but up to 53 percent for Black students)." [4]

If Oakland values equity, it is clear that more resources need to be directed to support Black male youth earlier on in their public education.

[1] Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) (2013). How Place, Racism and Poverty Matters for Health in Alameda County [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.acphd.org/media/383224/healthequity.pdf

[2] OUSD Public Reports: http://www.ousddata.org/public-dashboards.html

[3] Stanovich, Keith E. "Matthew Effects in Reading: Some Consequences of Individual Differences in the Acquisition of Literacy." The Journal of Education, vol. 189, no. 1/2, Theory, Research, Reflection on Teaching and Learning (2008/2009), pp. 23-55 (33 pages). Sage Publications, Inc.:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/42748659

[4] Al Otaiba, Stephanie, and Barbara Foorman. "Early Literacy Instruction and Intervention." Community literacy journal vol. 3,1 (2008): 21-37: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4159770

 

The Policy Change that the Campaign Seeks

To provide Black male youth in Oakland attending the 1st grade with additional educational support, in the form of teacher training and expert reading tutors, to ensure that they are reading at grade level before they enter 2nd grade. 

 

Our Proven Advocacy Process

This campaign is backed by aCoach.org, which means that it has access to advocacy experts, as well as campaign and technology resources that will provide a winning edge. 

Each aCoach.org campaign follows this proven process:

  1. Getting the facts
  2. Building support
  3. Making a plan
  4. Communicating your message

This process, which is taught at UC Berkeley and is well documented in the advocacy manual that one of our founders created for The California Endowment, is bolstered by support from advocacy experts. These advocacy coaches help co-design a plan designed to increase the likelihood of success. This may include sophisticated, little-known strategies such as budget riders or administrative petitions. The below video highlights how the aCoach.org approach is different than other online activism options:

 

This campaign may engage a number of different stakeholders, including:

  • Local elected officials, such as the mayor, city council members and school board members.
  • Community members who want to see an increase in Black male youth graduation levels, while also reducing both the rates of suspension and referrals to special education.
  • Representatives from local businesses.
  • Representatives from regional and education-focused philanthropic entities.

 

FAQ
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Support This Advocacy Campaign

All donations will be used to run the advocacy campaign, and not for tutoring services. This is because advocacy is a high-leverage activity.1

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Make a great difference in the success of the campaign. As a Champion you will:

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🎁 Make a one-time donation of $25 or more to support the campaign.*

1 NCRP found that $1 donated towards policy and civic engagement provided a return of $115 in community benefit. So what's the key take away? Invest in advocacy.

* Your donation will be refunded if the campaign does not achieve $1,000 in donations or get over 100 supporters by Friday, October 23, 2020 12:00 AM PST.

100% of donations go to support the campaign by providing critical direct services and infrastructure.

Join us and make a difference.

This campaign was started by a concerned community member and in order to succeed, we rely on the support of others in community, just like you. You simply add your name to the list of supporters, or you can also make a donation to fund the campaign.

Your donation will be refunded if the campaign does not achieve $1,000 in donations or get over 100 supporters by Friday, October 23, 2020 12:00 AM PST.

OUR CAMPAIGN

Improve literacy rates, reduce school suspensions and lower the number of referrals to special education by providing a reading tutor for every first grade Black male youth in the Oakland Unified School District.

Support our campaign.

CONTACT

490 43rd Street
Suite 350
Oakland, CA 94609

[email protected]

(510) 306-7494

ABOUT aCoach.org

aCoach.org backs campaigns like these because we believe that communities have what it takes to change unjust policies, but often lack the support and resources they need to succeed.

We’re on a mission to change that. Learn more here.