By Kilian Betlach
I support G1 because I believe in middle schools, and I believe in Oakland teachers.
Measure G1 would raise $12 million dollars that would provide for both a two percent raise for teachers, and a substantial investment in the elective and enrichment programs at middle schools. We know that teachers provide an unparalleled service, literally shaping the future of our city, state, and country. It is both appropriate and necessary that a portion of all new funding be used to provide the kind of living wage that allows teachers to commit to their profession and live in the community where they work. G1 does this.
Click here to get a Measure G1 yard sign.
G1 also invests the success and potential of middle schools. Many of us remember our own middle school years less than fondly. The tendency to think back on those times negatively can sometimes cause us to forget how important and impactful grades six through eight can really be. The middle grades are when young people either solidify the skills they began to build in elementary school or do the critical catch-up work necessary for high school and college readiness. The middle grades are when young people try on personalities like outfits, and try out different interests just as often, switching between athletics and performing arts, music and visual arts, computers, coding, and technology.
“The core subjects—English, history, math, and science—are important, but to nurture the long-term academic health of our young people we need to provide more: more access to electives, including the arts and computer science.”
Unfortunately, the recent recession and gaps in state funding often leave middle schools unable to provide the type of rich, varied educational experience our young people deserve. Instead, we all too often default to the educational equivalent of a bread-and-water diet. Sure, it may provide temporary sustenance, but it does not allow for long-term nourishment. The core subjects—English, history, math, and science—are important, but to nurture the long-term academic health of our young people we need to provide more: more access to electives, including the arts and computer science. Locating these opportunities is particularly critical for low-income students and families, who may otherwise lack access to these programs.
Measure G1 seeks to rectify this imbalance. By providing significant funding exclusively for electives, it ensures that can hire art teachers, music teachers, and computer science teachers. It ensures that our schools offer more than the basics, more than just a bread-and- water, and provide young people with a balanced academic diet that launches them into high school, college, and career.
Please vote Yes on G1.
Kilian Betlach is an OUSD principal at Elmhurst Community Prep, and an Oakland resident.