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Parents of Parker Elementary School students and their allies planned to assume control of the Oakland school starting Wednesday evening following the last day of classes in the Oakland Unified School District, organizers said.
Following outcries over the last three months about the district’s consolidation plan, which will affect Parker Elementary along with 10 other schools, parents and their allies planned to occupy the school starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday and reopen it Monday, May 30, as Parker Community School.
A celebration of the liberation is planned for noon Saturday at the school at 7929 Ney Ave.
“We have to do everything we can and use everything we know how to use to continue to stay in the fight against school closures, the fight against gentrification and the fight for our men, women and children in our community,” Parker parent Rochelle Jenkins said in a statement.
Supporters of the Parker Community School effort set up an online fundraiser in hopes of obtaining $10,000 to promote their cause. They had received at least $750 as of Wednesday evening.
Latest of several protests
The outcries from the community over the school district’s consolidation plan have involved at least one hunger strike, at least one student-led walkout, and a one-day unfair labor strike by the district’s teachers.
Despite the outcries, the school district has remained steadfast in its plan for consolidation due to declining enrollment and therefore declining funding for the district.
Opponents of the consolidation plan argue that the plan disproportionately hurts Black and Hispanic students.
“We have to do everything we can and use everything we know how to use to continue to stay in the fight against school closures, the fight against gentrification and the fight for our men, women and children in our community.”Rochelle Jenkins, Parker Elementary parent
School district spokesperson John Sasaki asked how Black students and Hispanic students will fare if the district fails to enact the plan.
The plan may allow the district to provide more resources, albeit to fewer schools, to improve student performance, which is lagging, district officials said.
Among the district’s third- to fifth-graders, less than 15 percent of Black students scored at or above grade level in math in the 2020-21 school year while about 18 percent of Hispanic students did.
District officials said they want to improve the numbers dramatically.
In February, the school board voted to close seven schools before the 2023-24 school year. The district’s plans also include truncating two schools to grades K-5 from K-8 and merging two other schools.
The school board made its decision Feb. 8 and affirmed it on Feb. 18.