Charter School Oversight

It is important for charter school parents to understand that the OUSD Board of Education has extremely limited control over the actions of charter schools in Oakland. Each charter school has its own Board of Directors, and they are a resource for seeking resolution if your school principal has not addressed an issue to your satisfaction.

If you are a charter school parent, you still have some due process rights if you are unhappy with how your school is treating you or your child. There is a process to file a complaint with the OUSD Office of Charter Schools. Please note that the Office of Charter Schools will first ask whether you have followed the complaint process that has been established at your school, so make sure you have tried that avenue first.

I strongly encourage parents and community members to file complaints if charter schools are engaging in improper or illegal conduct, because there is no way for OUSD to provide meaningful oversight if we don't know what is happening inside of charter schools.

The staff of the Office of Charter Schools make regular reports to the OUSD board about the types of complaints that are being filed, and the outcome of their investigations. Ultimately the complaints, if substantiated, also inform the reports that we use to determine whether to renew a charter school for another term. Thus this is a very important tool that we rely on in our oversight of charter schools.

Some other avenues for parents and community to explore are: attending a meeting of the Board of Directors of your school (meeting dates and agendas should be posted on the school's website), attending OUSD School Board meetings and testifying about your experience to the School Board and community, and supporting efforts for teachers to unionize and have more job security. Things like teacher turnover and resource allocation often improve for the better when teachers are not afraid to speak up.

It is also good to ask to meet with your school board members. Ultimately, we have little control over the day to day conduct of charter schools, but it is extremely helpful for us to learn from parents and staff on the ground how well Oakland charter schools are serving families, as we have to decide at regular intervals whether they should continue to exist.



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