Education Reform

Urban Strategies Council believes that excellent and equitable public education is a civil right and a cornerstone of eliminating poverty and building vibrant, healthy communities. Our role is to support public systems and community partners in educational reform and to hold us all accountable for creating conditions that allow children and youth to thrive from cradle to career.

Using a data-driven approach, we expose disparities in resources, opportunities, and student outcomes. This helps the education community better target its resources, while increasing transparency and accountability.

Cradle-to-Career Framework

The Council is partnering with public systems, community-based organizations, and stakeholders in applying a cradle–to-career framework to strategic planning, policy development, and community engagement to support education reform that will close opportunity and achievement gaps.

Current Project Highlights

Early & Middle Years Focus

Ages 0-8 Boys of Color Education and Health Project

We are working with the Oakland Unified School District to establish a focus on improving outcomes for young boys of color, a group that experiences some of the greatest disparities in rates of early education services enrollment, health and wellness, school attendance, school readiness, suspensions, and 3rd grade reading  and math proficiency. We plan to convene a work group as part of OUSD’s early education initiative that will produce an equity analysis, and assess current intervention programs as well as review best practices for boys of color around the nation.

Grade-Level Reading: Oakland Reads 2020

Urban Strategies Council has been a partner since 2012 in developing this 10-year citywide campaign to double the number of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade, leading the development of a common agenda, shared measurement, and mutually reinforcing activities. We have worked closely with the convening partner, the Rogers Family Foundation, sitting on the Steering Committee, and leading workgroups. We researched and wrote the Oakland Reads 2020 Baseline Report and the recent annual progress report, and plan to continue publishing regular reports examining data on grade level reading, and pillars that support it including school readiness, school attendance, summer learning, parent engagement, and health.

West Oakland Attendance Project

We have partnered with Oakland-based Lincoln Child Services and Attendance Works to document, analyze and report to the community on an attendance pilot program for 50 elementary school students in West Oakland who will receive services to move them from being chronically absent to regularly attending school. Our report on the year-long pilot will include recommendations for addressing community, school and family needs for ensuring that all children in the four pilot schools attend school regularly and are not chronically absent.

High School, College and Career Focus

Linked Learning Project

As the Oakland Unified School District develops a $100 million initiative designed to improve outcomes for every OUSD high school student, we are developing indicators, collecting data and developing a budget tracking tool that will empower stakeholders across the city to contribute to the development and monitoring of Linked Learning programs at every high school in the district.

K-14 Career Pathways Development

We are involved in several initiatives focused on career pathways development for high school and college age students in Alameda County and Contra Costa counties. We are the employer-education intermediary for the West Contra Costa Unified School District, helping them expand work-based learning for  K-12 students; develop a structure to provide equitable access to work-based learning; and assess students’ performance so that students and schools can use the results. We also coordinate the Direct Connect to Community College program, which provides stabilization services, high school credentials, and connections to career pathways programs at Peralta community colleges.

Data and Indicators Overview

Oakland Achieves Partnership 

As a lead member of this cross-sector partnership focused on public education, we produce annual reports on student progress in Oakland. These reports are based on cradle to career indicators such as school readiness; elementary and middle school reading and math proficiency; student attendance and chronic absence; high school graduation rates; and university eligibility.

Recent Reports