Children Rising – Working Together to Prioritize Funding of Education For All Our Children
By Jim Wambach
Perspectives article by Jim Wambach, Executive Director
An Education Crisis
We are in the midst of a public education crisis throughout our country. The crisis is particularly acute within the urban, lower income neighborhoods of our largest cities. Now, more than ever, the full support of our community is required to help nurture and equip vulnerable children to rise above the generational effect of poverty, violence and educational inequity.
We know the children and youth we serve are faced with unfair challenges created by living in poverty, greater exposure to violence and unequal distribution of academic resources. With a teacher strike at the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) looming this week, this unequal distribution of academic resources in many of our neighborhood schools is front and center. I believe shining a bright light on this issue can be a good thing overall.
Perhaps we can take a step toward achieving a focused attention in Sacramento about the critical need to prioritize the necessary funding for improved educational opportunity for all children.
When the scheduled strike takes place on Thursday, February 21, Faith Network’s full priority and focus will remain centered on the long-term best interest of the vulnerable children we support in our programs. During the strike, we anticipate some disruption of normal school operations and schedules. We believe it is important to avoid the possibility of students not attending the clinics, which is likely to affect our clinics too. We believe it’s important to avoid putting volunteers and Faith Network staff in a potentially uncomfortable situation, and one where they may not be able to adequately prepare for their students. Another factor we’ve considered is the likelihood of multiple students not making it to our clinics. We also want to be cautious about creating an undue burden for administrators and replacement staff to support our clinics and classes during this unusual time. These are all factors that would prevent us from creating the high-quality and effective learning experience that would benefit our students.
Therefore, when the strike begins on Thursday, we will temporarily suspend our Succeeding by Reading and Path2Math clinics, Library Support services and our CareerBridge classes. Instead, we will further our investment in the children by providing volunteers and staff an opportunity for additional training this week and until the strike comes to an end.
The decision to suspend our clinics during the strike is being taken in sole consideration of the children we serve, our volunteers and staff, and our partner administrators and teachers. Our decision to temporarily suspend our programs is not made as a stance in support of or against the teacher strike. We support and encourage both sides to work for a quick resolution – one that will help establish a foundation for long-term, meaningful improvements for better supporting the education of all our children and youth. We believe this is what all parties to the dispute sincerely desire.
Our clinics and classes will resume as quickly as possible after the strike action ends and the schools are able to resume their normal operations.
For the children,
YES, I CAN help transform a child’s life. Let’s talk!