The Oakland Post is endorsing Clarissa Doutherd for Oakland Board of Education in District 4, a candidate who has the experience, energy and commitment to take on the critical issues facing the Oakland schools.
She has a track record that demonstrates that she is willing to lead—to join with the community to push for adequate funding for Oakland schools and the right of all of the city’s children to equal, quality public education.
Doutherd is executive director of Parent Voices Oakland, an East Bay chapter of Parent Voices California. Recently, she was a leader in the effort to pass Alameda County Measure A, a proposed sales tax for childcare and early education.
Doutherd currently serves as co-chair of the Alameda County Early Childhood Policy Committee and as a steering committee member of the Alameda County Early Care and Education Planning Council. She also sits on the Alameda County-Oakland Community Partnership Board for the City of Oakland.
She is the recipient of the prestigious Gloria Steinem “Woman of Vision” award, First 5 of Alameda County Parent Advocate Award and the Oakland District 4 Local Heroes Award.
She is entering the race at a time when the school board is under intense criticism for continuing financial hardships and is facing state pressure to cut tens of millions of dollars in spending by laying off teachers and closing schools.
“I am running for my child,” Doutherd said at a kick-off rally earlier this summer in a park in East Oakland. “The thing that has been most critical in his development and my development as a parent and a leader in my community is being in a school environment where I feel like teachers are heard, parents are heard, and students are supported and loved in their full dignity and humanity as learners.”
In the Oakland Post’s school board candidate interviews last week, she said:
“School board members have a duty to listen to their constituents—parents, teachers and youths—and to participate in coalitions that are formed (on behalf of public education).”
Doutherd’s endorsements include Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Educators for Democratic Schools and the Oakland teachers’ union, the Oakland Education Association (OEA).
“Electing Clarissa Doutherd is a critical step toward creating a fiscally competent school board that puts students at the center,” the OEA wrote on its Facebook page.
Doutherd addresses the negative impact of the rapid growth of charter schools in Oakland in undermining the financial stability of the public-school system.
“Charters are a reality. They are here,” she said, adding that we need to examine how resources are distributed.
“Every single child deserves to have the same quality education, no matter where your zip code is, no matter what school you sign up to.”
Doutherd said she has learned through experience that it is necessary to speak truth in places where people sometimes want to silence you. “I’ve been fighting for many years in what (has) felt like an uphill battle,” she said. “But as someone who is willing to fight and not compromise my integrity and my values, I sleep well at night. Our elected officials should be able to say the same.”
Doutherd’s opponent, Gary Yee, is a career school administrator who served briefly as interim superintendent of schools in Oakland.
Yee has been endorsed by GO Public Schools, a local pro-charter school organization funded by corporate privatizers. While on the school board, he approved the opening of nearly a dozen charter schools.
In his endorsement interview with the Oakland Post, Yee said he is an education professional, not someone who will lead coalitions to defend public education in Oakland. “I’m not a campaign type of politician…I’m not elected to do that,” he said. “I more or less color inside the lines.”
For more information about Clarissa Doutherd, go to https://clarissaforoaklandschools.com/