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Oakland Post: West Oakland Middle School to Envision Charter: ‘Stay Away!’

Teachers and community public school advocates are asking Envision Education, a charter school management organization, not to take over public school classrooms at West Oakland Middle School (WOMS).

“We want to persuade them not to take (our) space because it will be harmful to the last public middle school in West Oakland,” writes WOMS teacher Christie Blakley in an online petition that now has over 900 signatures.

Envision is scheduled to tell OUSD on May 1 whether the charter is accepting the district’s offer and will co-locate with WOMS.

Classrooms are already crowded, as some WOMS teachers are doubling up to utilize limited space. But Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has offered Envision Education rooms in WOMS because Proposition 39 requires that public schools that don’t meet enrollment quotas offer space to charters.

But Envision Education is not required to accept OUSD’s offer. Blakley claims WOMS teachers need the space they have and would like more space for restorative justice programs, reading and math intervention, language development and small group and/or one-on-one work for special education students. She is also concerned that co-locating with a charter would require WOMS to compete with the charter for resources while making it harder to develop and maintain a positive school culture.

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