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The Need: Why YES on Measure AA, the Oakland Children’s Initiative?

Of 100 Oakland students who start 9th grade together, just 46 will start college, and just 15 will graduate from college within 5 years of enrolling. That disparity starts from the very beginning: just 43% of OUSD students enter “kindergarten ready,” as measured by the Kindergarten Observation Form (KOF), administered by First 5 Alameda in 2015. Specifically, 82% of white students were kindergarten-ready compared to 36% of African American students and 29% of Latinx students. Furthermore, according to a recent Parent Voices study, over 2,200 Oakland families with preschool-aged children are on a waiting list for financial assistance. For many families, even working two jobs isn’t enough to afford preschool, since families must spend up to 25% of income on preschool. That means more children entering kindergarten underprepared and more families who can’t afford to live in Oakland.

Our Strategy: Investing in our children, families, workers and community

The Children’s Initiative is a November 2018 ballot initiative would serve over 10,000 children annually, by expanding access to quality affordable preschool for children from low-income backgrounds, and increasing access to and graduation from 2- or 4-year colleges and trade certificates by providing mentoring and scholarships. It is a key strategy in our movement for equity across the Oakland. Read the full legislation by clicking here, or click here to read our 2-pager.

Our Supporters

Over the course of almost a year, over 400 Oakland community members participated in drafting the the Children’s Initiative through monthly Community Advisory Councils, individual and group meetings, and a public version of the legislation posted for anyone to comment on. It is an unprecedented collaboration of city, district, county, philanthropy, non-profits, elected officials, colleges and community members. Join us in supporting the Children’s Initiative today, alongside others like Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom, Congresswoman Barbara Lee*, Mayor Libby Schaaf*, Assemblyman Rob Bonta*, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond*, Senator Nancy Skinner*, Supervisor Wilma Chan*, Jovanka Beckles, Buffy Wicks, the Alameda County Democratic Party, SEIU 1021*, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, Parent Voices Oakland, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, NAACP Oakland, Latino Education Network, the Unity Council, Children Now, First 5 Alameda County, the Alameda Labor Council, the Building & Construction Trades Council of Alameda, Black Women Organized for Political Action, and many more — see the full list here!  (* indicates co-author).

The Legislation

Download a copy of the full legislation here.

Strict Accountability Built In

Measure AA must spend all funds exclusively on early education and college access and completion programs, and is held accountable through mandatory annual audits, external evaluations, and an accountability officer.  

Measure AA also requires a powerful independent citizens commission who must approve funding guidelines regularly, with mandatory representation for homeowners, parents, teachers, and students.

Measure AA has exemptions for low-income households and seniors, and affordable housing.