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Education

Post Endorses School Board Candidates Demanding Full Local Control, Oppose School Closings

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A committee of local educators created by the Oakland Post Editorial Board has endorsed candidates for the Oakland Board of Education in all four open races this year, supporting outspoken community leaders who oppose austerity and continued domination of district polices by state agencies and who unequivocally oppose closing neighborhood schools.

The Post endorsed: District 1 – Stacy Thomas and Sam Davis; District 3 – Cherisse Gash and VanCedric Williams; District 5 – Mike Hutchinson: and District 7 – Kristina Molina and Ben “Coach” Tapscott.

Participants in the Post’s committee were teacher Shalonda Tillman, Post editor and educator Ken Epstein, parent Mona Treviño, educator Henry HItz, retired teacher Eleanore Stovall and educator Nirali Jani. The committee made recommendations and Post publishers Paul Cobb and Gay Plair Cobb made final decisions.

The Post did not endorse candidates who support closing more Oakland schools, take money from privatizers or pro-charter school billionaires or would like the district to continue the kind of draconian cuts that have become common in recent years.

The Post-endorsed candidate from District 1, Thomas said she is committed to “stopping the charter school  proliferation that is happening in Oakland.”

With a career of 30 years in accounting, she said she hopes to use her skills to fight for financial transparency and stop the state and its agency, the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT), from running roughshod over the school district.

She strongly stated that as a board member she would not vote to close schools because “it is hugely disruptive to parents, teachers and students.”

The Post endorsement committee also supported Davis for his experience in education. However, he was equivocal on a number of issues. Rather than say there is a need to wrest control from the neoliberals in state government, he said, “The best antidote to FCMAT is getting our own financial house in order,” which is hard to do if the privatizers and their supporters are in charge.

Gash, who was strongly endorsed for District 3, said she is opposed to closing schools and is determined to invest in education. “We have to stop defunding the schools and putting money in consulting costs. You have to have board members who will fight tooth and nail to make sure money that students need are not cut in half. They need to be given the maximum. “

She said that FCMAT officials, who are based in Bakersfield, “don’t value Oakland people and Oakland voices. They end up contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline.”

The Post also endorsed Williams for District 3 school board. A San Francisco public school teacher who lives in Oakland, he said he would never vote to close a school.

For District 5, the Post endorsed Mike Hutchinson.  Speaking about outside agencies and interests impacting Oakland, he said the school district’s “budget crisis has been engineered for different political ends. This is all a part of an effort for other people to come into our school district and try to compel us to close our schools so the property can be sold off to charter schools and developers.”

Post-endorsed candidate Molina in District 7 describes herself as someone who as a student “attended Melrose Elementary School, Calvin Simmons Junior High School, and John C. Fremont High School. I come from a proud background of California pickers; my grandmother, father, aunt, and uncle worked in the fields of San Clemente and joined Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the fight to get unionized. I was the first in the family to attend college at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB).”

“Oakland public education needs less obscurity and more transparency. Families, teachers, students, and community stakeholders need to know how schools are spending and investing funds. School site parent-run organizations need to be provided with their school budget to see how the administration has expended every dollar of their child’s education,” she said.

The Post also endorsed “Coach” Tapscott for District 7 school board.

When the state took over the school district in 2003, the district was about $50 million in debt, he said. When the state receiver left, the district was $100 million in debt, an amount that still is not paid off. “If they generated that debt, they should pay for it,” Tapscott said.

When they cut, they cut at the school sites, (but) we’re top-heavy with upper and middle management.

“I think there is a lot of waste going on,” he said, “I think there is a conspiracy, you have more privatization, keeping us in debt. The state controller, what is that person doing to monitor the money?”

School board candidates and contact information

District 1

• Austin Dannhaus; Austinforousd.com

• Sam Davis; samdavisforoaklandschools.org

• Stacy Thomas: stacyt@bayareabookkeepers.net

District 3

• Maiya Edgerly; https://www.facebook.com/maiyaforoakland/

• Cherisse Gash; https://cherissegash.com

• Mark Hurty; https://markforoakland.com

• Maximo Santana; www.santanaforoakland2020.com

• VanCedric Williams: http://www.vancedricwilliams.com

District 5

• Mike Hutchinson; facebook.com/MikeHutchinson4SchoolBoard

• Leroy Gaines; https://www.leroygaines4oakland.net

• Sheila Pope Lawrence; https://www.facebook.com/Sheila-Pope-Lawrence-for-OUSD-School-Board-Director-Area-5-104089071265774/

• Jorge Lerma; https://www.jorgeforoakland.com

District 7

• Kristina Molina; http://votekristinamolina.com

• Ben Tapscott; coachtap@aol.com

• Bronché Jerard Taylor; broncheworking@gmail.com

• Clifford Thompson: https://clif4oaklandschools.org

• Victor  Valerio; https://www.facebook.com/OaklandValerio/

Activism

School Board Candidate is Mayor’s Staffer with Privatizer Connections

Mungia’s work on behalf of Mayor Schaaf’s education agenda is part of what troubles school advocates. Schaaf, a longtime supporter of charter schools, has spoken forcefully in the media in favor of closing as many as half of the city’s public schools.

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Kyra Mungia
Kyra Mungia

By Ken Epstein

The candidacy of Kyra Mungia, one of nine applicants who wish to fill the vacant District 6 seat on the Oakland Board of Education, has raised concerns from public school advocates about her connections to pro-charter school organizations and school privatizers.

The school board was faced with filling this vacancy when Board member Shanthi Gonzales recently resigned. The six remaining school board members are scheduled to vote before the end of June to fill the seat until January, when a new board member, elected in November, will take office.

According to Mungia’s resume, she has worked in Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Office from June 2016 to the present, currently serving as the mayor’s Deputy Director of Education.

However, a search of payroll records from 2016-2021 on Transparent California does not show Mungia as a payee by the City of Oakland for her job in the Mayor’s Office.

In a reply to questions from the Oakland Post, the Mayor’s spokesperson replied that Ms. Mungia’s salary is paid by a non-profit organization.

“Her employee position (and salary) is funded by The Oakland Public Education Fund. Ms. Mungia, like all Office of the Mayor staff — regardless of their salary’s funding source — [is] required to fill out public disclosure documents, including Form 700, and abide by all rules and regulations required of a city employee,” said the mayor’s spokesperson Justin Berton.

Form 700 lists Mungia as a Lee Public Policy Fellow. Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) is tied to a charter school advocacy group.

Mungia’s work on behalf of Mayor Schaaf’s education agenda is part of what troubles school advocates. Schaaf, a longtime supporter of charter schools, has spoken forcefully in the media in favor of closing as many as half of the city’s public schools.

Mungia has a considerable history with organizations that have a reputation for support for charter schools and from privatizers, including several that paid for a series of fellowships in the Mayor’s Office.

She began her career in Oakland as an elementary teacher for three years in East Oakland, working at least part of the time for Teach for America, which is tied to privatizers. Also, while working as a teacher, she served as a GO Public Schools Fellow.

GO is a charter-friendly organization that has spent $1,112,526 in Oakland school board elections since 2012, predominantly funded by out-of-town billionaires like Michael Bloomberg, Arthur Rock and Stacy Schusterman.

She was paid by the Oakland Public Education Fund (Ed Fund) in 2019-2020 for her work on Oakland Promise, the Mayor’s nonprofit, according to the Ed Fund’s IRS filings.

According to Ms. Mungia’s public LinkedIn resume, her career in the Mayor’s Office started in June 2016 with a three-month fellowship paid by Urban Leaders, an organization with a list of partners that includes KIPP (charter school chain), Educate78 (a charter expansion organization), GO Public Schools, and other pro-charter groups.

She continued in the mayor’s office with another fellowship through June 2017 paid by Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), an organization whose political arm gave $25,000 to the Power2Families PAC in 2000, which then bankrolled the candidacies of Austin Dannhaus for the OUSD District 1 seat, and Maiya Edgerly for the OUSD District 3 seat. Both candidates lost their races — despite record spending by Power2Families and other school privatizer organizations — to Sam Davis and VanCedric Williams.

In 2019, Mungia was a Surge Fellow in the Mayor’s office, a Black and Brown leadership development program, funded by wealthy backers of charter expansion, including the Walton Family Foundation and Michael Bloomberg.

Rochelle Jenkins, A District-6 parent, said she wanted the school board to pick a district representative who would speak for parents’ and families’ interests. “I hope the school board will choose a candidate who will represent our students and families first, and not Mayor Schaff and out-of-town billionaires.”

“In 2020, monied charter school interests tried to defeat a parent running in District 1 by spending big against him, but voters rejected that. It is incumbent on the school board to select a parent who will genuinely represent D6 families, and who won’t be given a leg-up because they intend to run in November,” said OUSD parent Rachel Latta.

In addition to seeking the temporary appointed position, Mungia is running for a four-year term in November as the District 6 representative.

Along with Mungia, the following eight candidates have applied for the vacant appointed position. They are:

Azlinah Tambu is a mother of two OUSD students at Parker Elementary. Since the announcement of intended school closures, she has been a leader in the fight to keep Parker open. She has lived in District 6 for eight years and in Oakland for 14 years.

David (Joel) Velasquez is an Oakland parent, an engineer and a business owner and has been involved with the district for 20 years. He has lived in District 6 for eight years.

David Correa, a former middle school teacher in OUSD for 10 years, currently manages the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco. He has two children in elementary school and has lived in Oakland for 12 years.

Janell Hampton has lived in Oakland for almost 40 years, including 10 years in District 6. She works for the California School Employees Association (CSEA), which represents food service workers, custodians, groundskeepers, para educators, bus drivers and security officers. She is a graduate of Skyline High School.

Julie Mendoza worked as an English teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in Oakland. She has lived nine years in Oakland, including four in District 6.

Kim Davis, a district 6 parent and long-time education advocate in Oakland, is a leader and founder of Parents United for Public Schools. She has lived in District 6 for 19 years.

Natalee Kēhaulani Bauer is professor and chair of the Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies department at Mills College She taught in OUSD schools from 1997 to 2005. She has lived in District 6 for 3 years and in Oakland for 27 years.

Tamecca Brewer (Anderson) was a math teacher in OUSD from 1995 to 1999. She now serves as an assistant manager for the Alameda County Library system.

She has been a District 6 resident for 22 years. As a student, she attended OUSD schools.

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Activism

Title IX: 37 Words That Changed Everything

Civil rights attorney and Alameda County District Attorney primary winner Pamela Price has long been recognized as a significant contributor for the enactment of the groundbreaking Title IX legislation because of her role as the lead Plaintiff in the first sexual harassment lawsuit, Alexander (Price) v. Yale. Her story as the Plaintiff and later as a leading civil rights attorney making new law under Title IX is featured in Sherry Boschert’s new book, 37 Words. Her fight for justice as a young woman is also featured in the ESPN documentary “37 Words” which will air on ESPN channels starting on June 21st.

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37 Words Author Sherry Boschert in front of poster with keynote speaker Pamela Price. (Photo courtesy of Price).
37 Words Author Sherry Boschert in front of poster with keynote speaker Pamela Price. (Photo courtesy of Price).

By Post Staff

Civil rights attorney and Alameda County District Attorney primary winner Pamela Price was a featured guest at the 50th Anniversary celebration of Title IX in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Women’s Law Center (NWCL).

Price participated in a casual conversation with NWLC President and CEO, Fatima Goss Graves and Sherry Boschert, author of 37 Words, about the importance of Title IX and continuing to defend gender rights.

Price said the invitation-only audience included 75 high level women’s policy advocates and leaders from student chapters fighting on behalf of Title IX rights from around the country, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes pioneers of Title IX.

Attorney Price has long been recognized as a significant contributor for the enactment of the groundbreaking Title IX legislation because of her role as the lead Plaintiff in the first sexual harassment lawsuit, Alexander (Price) v. Yale. Her story as the Plaintiff and later as a leading civil rights attorney making new law under Title IX is featured in Sherry Boschert’s new book, 37 Words. Her fight for justice as a young woman is also featured in the ESPN documentary “37 Words” which will air on ESPN channels starting on June 21st.

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) is a non-profit organization that has been on the leading edge of every major legal and policy victory for women and girls for nearly 50 years.

NWLC launched a yearlong effort to mark its 50th anniversary as well as a refreshed strategic plan that will forge its efforts to ensure that women and girls — especially those of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community — can live, learn, and work with safety, dignity, and equality.

Earlier this month, in anticipation of Title IX’s 50th anniversary on June 23, 2022, the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) which includes 35 organizations advocating for gender justice in education including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released a report, “Title IX At 50”. The report takes a look at Title IX’s impact over the last half century, celebrating the significant progress to end sex discrimination in education, while recognizing the work that remains to be done.

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Bay Area

WCCCSB Member Mister Phillips Announces Run for Richmond Mayor

Attorney and West Contra Costa County School Board member Mister Phillips is a fourth-generation Richmond resident and the son of two law enforcement officers, Tommie and Cynthia Phillips. Tommie was a lieutenant at the Richmond Police Department. Cynthia was a deputy at the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

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Mister Phillips, a West Contra Costa School Board member, ran unopposed in the last election. Photo by Buddy Terry.
Mister Phillips, a West Contra Costa School Board member, ran unopposed in the last election. Photo by Buddy Terry.

By Shantina Jackson-Romero

Attorney and West Contra Costa County School Board member Mister Phillips has filed initial papers to run for mayor of Richmond, CA, in November.

Phillips said that he is running, because he believes that “the city is heading in the wrong direction.” According to the Bay Area Council, “A record 64 percent of residents say the Bay Area is headed in the wrong direction, a 14-point jump over the previous year and the highest level of dissatisfaction since the poll began in 2014.”

Phillips envisions “a community with clean and safe streets, great schools, livable wages, affordable housing, and quality parks and recreation for all,” according to his website.

Phillips is a fourth-generation Richmond resident and the son of two law enforcement officers, Tommie and Cynthia Phillips. Tommie was a lieutenant at the Richmond Police Department. Cynthia was a deputy at the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

Phillips, age 44, is a two-term member of the West Contra Costa County School Board and a three-term member of the Democratic Party County Central Committee. A former Naval Reserve officer, Phillips has been an attorney for 19 years and been in business for 17 years. He has been married to Angela Phillips, since 2010. They have four children. For more information, visit www.misterphillips.com.

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