We went to two former adult schools in East Oakland today to do some support outreach and visibility for tonight’s action at OUSD–The Bond Street Adult School Annex in Fruitvale, and Edward Shands Adult School right next to Eastmont Mall.
We set up our materials and painted our banners and did chalk messages on the sidewalk right in front of the fenced off schools.
Almost from the beginning at Edward Shands, neighbors began to approach us curiously, asking us if we could get the school back open. It seemed like everyone who walked by had gone to the school for either ESL or GED–including one young gregarious man who regaled us with the tragic story of how he’d come very close to finishing his GED prep when Shands was shut down.
Everyone agreed with us that the schools needed to be opened–not only because of the nearby services they would provide, but because the shuttered buildings had a negative impact on their community and made the area seem hopeless.
At the Bond Street annex, which is nearby Fremont High School, one youth after another expressed support for what we were doing.
I think what was most extraordinary was how much people in East Oakland actually welcomed the attempt to set off interest in adult education again-which is all the opposite of how actions during the Occupy period were portrayed. It really put a smile on people’s faces to know that their community mattered to people who lived outside of it and that they shared a struggle with other people in other parts of the city.
OUSD will vote on cutting remaining funding to adult schools tonight at 5:30 at La Escuelita, at 1050 2nd Avenue between 10th and 12th street.