Sponsored Project

The Oakland Promise

Director(s):
Kelly Amis
Producer(s):
Kelly Amis
A young Latina woman stands with arms crossed in front of distant buildings

THE OAKLAND PROMISE (working title)

What happens when an entire city prioritizes college completion for every public school student? We are documenting the multi-faceted Oakland Promise education initiative to see if its "cradle to career" combination of supports for students can break through some long-standing challenges: today, only one in ten Oakland public school students is graduating from college within five years of high school graduation.

Launched in 2016 by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and a wide range of elected and community leaders, the Oakland Promise is meant to fill in the gaps for low-income and first generation students, and over time exponentially increase the number of college graduates living and thriving in Oakland.

We are documenting this comprehensive, community-based approach over time to see if it makes the difference intended for students and their families. The context is a city in flux with gentrification pushing out long-term residents and rendering others homeless, the federal government creating uncertainty and fear for its undocumented immigrant community, and a school system with severe budget challenges. Can an initiative such as this thrive as political challenges and other priorities compete for the city's attention?