Students, the ones that are most impacted by the policies implemented by their district, may finally be getting a voice in this decision-making process. Emeryville & Oakland are leading the way in the state by creating a formal student advisory committee that would solicit students feedback on issues like budgets & resources. New Emery superintendent Dr. John Rubio has been supportive of the measure adding “there is a commitment on a part of the school district that we include student voice in the decision-making,” when interviewed by The Oakland Tribune.
Currently, districts are required to solicit feedback from students through advisory committees which some think can dilute their voices. The policy is vague and invites districts to do the least amount possible just to fulfill the obligation. An important component of soliciting student feedback is presenting the data in plain English instead of complex policy jargon. “It is an opportunity for them to understand it so they’re able to engage with their peers and so their peers can give informed recommendations and feedback to the LCAP, to the plan itself,” noted Anakarita Allen, EUSD’s Director of curriculum and instruction.
The advocacy group that includes Emeryville & Oakland students called Student Voice Coalition, have been campaigning to the State Board of Education for a defined role for student participation in the budgeting process. “We know what’s under-resourced. We know exactly what we need,” said student Cindy Andrade “The Oakland Unified School District makes decisions that directly affect us, but we haven’t had a student voice for this.” The State Board of Education will reconvene in July to determine if changes to the accountability plan regulations are necessary.
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Emeryville, Oakland students to get formal say in district accountability process
Unlike many California students advocating for the same platform, Oakland and Emeryville students will have a formal role in overseeing the new school funding law that provides more local control and promises transparency. Last week both the Emeryville and Oakland school districts said that students will participate in the engagement process of the Local Control Funding Formula, which began this school year and is aimed at improving services for the most disadvantaged students. In the next couple of weeks, the school boards are reviewing and expected to vote on the policies.
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