Oakland Unified School District Votes to Cut Program Serving Asian American and Pacific Islander Students

Hundreds of community members attend an Oakland Unified School District meeting to support the APISA program as well as Restorative Justice and Foster Care counselors. (Photo credit: Twitter/@jeanquan)

With reporting from Reappropriate intern V. Huynh.

“Today is a historic day in the city of Oakland where teachers, educators are united with parents, students, and we are demanding that we have schools that our students deserve here in the city of Oakland,” said Keith Brown, President of the Oakland Education Association last month at a gathering of over 3,000 educators, students, and parents at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland. The activists represented over 87 schools in the Oakland United School District (OUSD), and later marched to OUSD headquarters chanting phrases like “Education Not Incorporation” and “Invest in Equity”.

The educators were marching to demand better wages, better support for students, and the better allocation of educational resources to schools who share histories of disproportionate funding and attention. Pithily put: This one’s about the kids.

In a larger fight between OUSD and the local community over a new OUSD budget that would slash several items focused on underserved students, one of the many issues angering local activists was a proposal last month by OUSD to cut the school district’s APISA program – the only program in the district aimed towards supporting underrepresented and underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

Despite the efforts of many community activists last month to launch the #SaveAPISA movement to save the APISA program, the Oakland United School District board voted last week to pass a budget that lacked funding for this initiative. The budget which resulted in the ending of APISA — the district’s only program aimed at supporting underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander students — passed by only a single vote; but that one vote is enough to eliminate necessary resources for marginalized and struggling youth.

Continue reading “Oakland Unified School District Votes to Cut Program Serving Asian American and Pacific Islander Students”