Students, teachers and community speak up for Roots Academy. OUSD doesn’t hear them.

On Tuesday evening, students, teachers and community residents spoke up for their school in deep east Oakland – Roots Academy. Here’s what some of them said. After it was all said, though, the school board voted to close down the school anyway. Hopefully, these students have learned a good life lesson and will keep up the fight for all their lives. Meanwhile, what’s needed is working class representatives to run against these corporate and real estate representatives who control the school board and control Oakland politics.


“Roots gave me hope when there was nothing…. Roots is like a family.”

“I came here when I was ten and I didn’t know how to speak English and you all know who helped me? Roots, right.”



“What you guys are doing is not right…. I used to hate school but this school made me want to go.”

“This school is like a family.”

“Why don’t we have all the materials and resources and clean water fountains that we should have?”

“Stop throwing our kids away.”

“Why not try to listen more to what kids say?”

“If our students were to go to a larger school, our sense of community wouldn’t be possible…. You may claim that Roots is not a quality school, but that’s because you and your predecessors have made it that way…. Our teachers teach with love”

Roots is like my second family…. They always have my back when I need them.”

(Talking about a school board member who visited the school): “He was shaking my hand like ‘I’m a good person’. Instead of ‘I’m going to shut down your school.’ I was just wondering what happened.”

“We’ve started to realize that many of those who are not in our community are making decisions for us.”

“You all are seeing us as test scores, not as people.”

“As a 50 year resident of Oakland, I have seen it too many times – where black and brown children are treated like trash and thrown away.”

2 replies »

  1. Wow john, the photos with the pictures look great. What are the demographics of the school board members who voted to close the school? I’m guessing all democrats.

    • They probably are Democrats, although in Oakland local races are “non-partisan”. But in general here in California, with the domination of the state by the Democratic Party, lots of politicians with the program that is traditionally thought of as the (old line, less radically far right) Republican program are running as Democrats. In Northern Alameda County, we just had a state assembly woman elected, Buffy Wicks, who in some ways posed as a liberal (she was part of the Hillary Clinton campaign), but ran with big money from the school privatizers.

Leave a Reply