Our main purpose is to address the increasing charterization, privatization, and corporatization of public education, which has had the effect of undermining democratically controlled public schools, doing the greatest damage to people of color, the disabled, and the poor.
The committee will work with other groups (such as Educators for Democratic Schools, Oakland Justice Coalition, and Justice for Oakland Students) to form an alliance around mutually held positions, such as building a movement to demand that the school board of Oakland
(a) Commit to a democratically controlled public education system and to equity for our diverse student population by making sure no further resources are drained into charter schools by those seeking to privatize our public schools;
(b) Respect and support teachers and not impose top-down solutions, but instead seek out the thoughts of teachers as to what has and has not worked to give students what they need to succeed as citizens in our country and world (research shows that the best leaders for schools and districts are collaborative);
(c) Respect the due process rights of teachers (we should never again have a superintendent who supports suing our school district to deprive teachers of due process, as Tony Smith did in his support of the Vergara lawsuit);
(d) Respect and be open to the ideas of parents and students from the Oakland community;
(e) Commit to reduce, not increase, the cost of management.
The Wellstone Education Committee will also review candidates for school board and make endorsement recommendations to the club. It could become a source for cultivating new pro–public education/pro–teacher and teachers union candidates to run. And it could develop education-related questions to pose to candidates for City Council and other civic bodies.
Statewide, the committee can reach out to legislators and other community groups (such as Richmond Progressive Alliance) to change state charter school laws to make them subject to democratic control and accountability (for example, making them subject to conflict of interest laws and the Open Meeting and Public Records acts), and to take positions on statewide initiatives and candidates based on their educational positions.
Within the Democratic Party, the committee can support officers and groups who are friendly to public education.
To join the Education Committee, please contact David Weintraub.