Action 2020 has voted to endorse the following candidates:
In District 1, we endorse Stacy Thomas
Motivated by the closures of Roots International Academy and Kaiser Elementary School over the objections of the community, Ms. Thomas was a part of Action 2020's fight to reform the school board even before she decided to run for office. As the owner of a bookkeeping business, and armed with an understanding of what FCMAT has done to the school district, we believe she is best positioned to help create a budget that serves all schools and all students. As a former volunteer with the Centerforce Youth Court restorative justice program, she would fight to see similar principles brought to Oakland schools. We're happy to join the John George Democratic Club and Oakland Rising Action in endorsing her.
In District 3, we endorse Cherisse Gash first, and VanCedric Williams second.
Ms. Gash comes to the race with a deep understanding of the problems facing the Oakland Unified School District as both a parent and an activist, and has backed that understanding up with action. When Henry J. Kaiser Elementary was being closed, we saw Ms. Gash at every single meeting, fighting and protesting day and night. We believe she would be an effective advocate for the values of Action 2020 in the fight against school closures and privatization, and we are happy to join Oakland Not For Sale in endorsing her as our #1 pick in the ranked-choice election.
Mr. Williams is a longtime union activist in the United Educators of San Francisco, and has also earned the endorsement of the Oakland Education Association teacher's union. While we've endorsed Cherisse Gash for our first pick, we believe that Mr. Williams would also be an effective ally on the school board, and certainly vastly preferable to candidates openly aligned with pro-privatization groups. As such, we endorse him as our #2 pick in the ranked-choice election.
In District 5, we endorse Mike Hutchinson.
Mr. Hutchinson is a long-time education activist, and many of us in the struggle around education have learned much from him. He is a fighter who is aggressively knowledgeable about the details of education and school board policy, and is committed to the idea that every child deserves a quality education. He is staunchly opposed to the charter school movement and groups that wish to use Oakland as a testing ground for privatization. He is our clear pick for the District 5 seat.
In District 7, we endorse Ben "Coach" Tapscott.
As a coach and educator, Mr. Tapscott is already a legendary figure in East Oakland, and has decades of experience in the issues that Action 2020 is fighting for. Few other candidates demonstrate the kind of empathy for the students they wish to represent, and he has a long track record of invigorating the schools where he was an educator. He is no newcomer to the school board fight, was an active participant in the fight around the closure of Kaiser, and is more than aware of the money games that administrators and the current school board play. He has demonstrated that he will fight for a quality public education for every student, and is our clear pick for the District 7 seat.
Additionally, Action 2020 has voted for negative endorsements of candidates endorsed by Great Oakland Public Schools: Austin Dannhaus in District 1, Maiya Edgerly and Mark Hurty in District 3, Leroy Gaines in District 5 and Dr. Clifford Thompson in District 7. GO Public Schools represents the charter school and privatization movement, a movement pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into this election, and we do not believe Oakland school board should be beholden to it. As such, we recommend leaving these candidates off the ballot entirely in the ranked choice election.