Oakland Unified School District incorporates anti-racism into pre-school curriculum, passes resolution for reparations


Operating under the program title “Oakland Starting Smart and Strong,” Oakland Unified School District has incorporated anti-racism into its preschool curriculum. The program is fiscally sponsored by the Oakland Public Education Fund, and is in coordination with Oakland Unified School District, local city leaders, and philanthropic organizations.

According to the program’s “10 Promising Practices in Early Learning for Boys of Color,” the document states that current educational systems, which have been “created by a society based on an organized system of racial hierarchy,” have “deeply entrenched policies and practices that produce inequitable outcomes for children of color, especially boys of color.”

Incorporated into the “10 Promising Practices” is an “Educator Anti-Racism/ Racial Justice Toolkit.” Some of the practices include:

  • “Build educator knowledge of structural racism, oppression, power and racial equity, and how these factors disproportionately affect boys of color,” and to strengthen educators’ “self-awareness of positionality (social categories of identity); their cultural values, assumptions and beliefs; and their understanding of the role that conscious and unconscious bias plays in their work with young boys of color”
  • “Strengthen educators’ self-awareness of positionality (social categories of identity); their cultural values, assumptions and beliefs; and their understanding of the role that conscious and unconscious bias plays in their work with young boys of color.”
  • “Learn and use evidence-based strategies to interrupt conscious and unconscious bias.”
  • “Audit existing policies, procedures and practices through a racial equity lens in order to build programs, schools, agencies and systems that improve outcomes for boys of color.”

On March 24, 2021, the Oakland Unified Board of Education passed the “Reparations for Black Students Resolution.” According to the document, the resolution will “build on the George Floyd Resolution, OUSD’s Equity Policy, and the work of the Black students and families.” It further states that “Board of Education (“Board”) directs the Superintendent to take all steps necessary to eliminate the Black Student opportunity gap across all schools by 2026.”

The Board also directs the superintendent to:

  • “create an Emergency Fund for Black Students and their families hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, funded by available resources included raised funds, to cover the payment of back rent owed, to ensure that Black Students are not displaced from their homes, negatively impacting their ability to learn”
  • “prioritize, in OUSD’s role as a core partner of the Oakland Undivided campaign, all OUSD Black Students, regardless of socio-economic status, as a highest priority applicant for the approval, assignment and distribution of Chromebooks and functional hot spots, beginning immediately and continuing as needed, to close the Black digital divide”
  • “sets criteria for the continuous monitoring of all OUSD schools with 10 or more Black or African American students enrolled (by annual census date or thereafter) to determine whether academic and socioemotional resources are effectively creating Black Student Academic Growth and Achievement, including distributions as needed from the publicly and privately raised resources included in the Black Thriving Fund”
  • “Code targeted resources from LCFF, Title I, Title II, Alameda County Office of Education, and other public and private sources which will be used to fund the Plan as part of the Black Thriving Fund, and will ensure that these funds are used ONLY to implement the Black Student Thriving Plan”
  • “shall advocate for and participate in the development of a citywide ‘birth to kinder’ plan to increase, stabilize, and sustain the access of Black Students and families to early education including resources and services that support early family engagement and training for Black parents and guardians”
  • “shall initiate a workforce development initiative by August 1, 2021 that increases the cultural competence of all Board members, administrators, educators, staff, and school communities by providing regular training on anti-Black racism, Black healing-centered practices and how to embed Black studies in all classrooms in order to increase the skill and knowledge of the district to ensure that Black Students are thriving”