The Oakland Promise is one of the most innovative and ambitious educational equity efforts happening in the country right now. This cradle-to-career community effort is the vision of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and David Silver, a LEE member serving as education director for the mayor.
Since its launch in January 2016, the Oakland Promise has received broad community, public and private support. The singular goal of the Oakland Promise is to triple the number of Oakland students who graduate from college within a decade.
LEE members are proud to be part of this comprehensive community effort. David requested to work with LEE to identify qualified members who were interested in honing their policy skills and contributing to this unprecedented effort. Three LEE members were awarded LEE Policy Fellowships and placed at the Oakland Promise: Margaret Croushore, Nina Remiker-Scheinman and Lindsey Jenkins-Stark.
In partnership with Oakland Unified School District, the East Bay College Fund, and other financial supporters, the Oakland Promise will engage nearly 200,000 children and families to help ensure that all students graduate high school with the expectations, skills, and resources to complete college and be successful in the career of their choice.
To achieve their ambitious vision, the Oakland Promise developed four initiatives to help Oakland parents and children save and plan for college at every stage, and provide the critical support needed to enroll in college and earn a degree. They have already launched the first two initiatives:
- College Scholarships and Completion, which will provide every qualifying student access to scholarships, and
- Future Centers, which will provide school-based advising in middle and high school to support college and career planning.
In the 2016-2017 academic year, the second two initiatives will launch:
- Brilliant Baby, which will provide $500 for college to babies born into poverty in Oakland; and
- Kindergarten to College, which will set up a college savings account for incoming kindergarten students.
There are miles to go before the city reaches their education goals, but the community took a small break to celebrate their progress in late February when the city was honored by the Golden State Warriors Foundation which presented the city with a championship ring. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was on hand to offer these words of encouragement:
“Oakland is on the way back. And the Oakland Promise provides opportunities for all children in Oakland to find their path to future success. This innovative initiative opens doors for all of our students. I often say, if your mind can conceive, and your heart can believe, we know that we can achieve. Oakland Promise can transform lives and lead the way to the future.”