Uprep parents and students pack meeting, leave without answers

University Preparatory Charter Academy students and parents met face-to-face with the school’s previously absentee governing board tonight to discuss the possibility that the Oakland school district might shut it down.

Some said they came looking for answers about the allegations made publicly by a group of teachers about grade-changing and cheating. Others wanted to share the many successes inspired by the school — stories, they argued, that have been overshadowed by the recent controversy.

Overwhelmingly, the crowd urged the board to do what it could to keep the school open. They left without even that assurance. One board member said he would consider giving the charter back to the school district, rather than fighting for it, because so much damage had been done to the school’s reputation by the media.

I met a number of people at the meeting, and they all held differing views on whether to call the school’s founder, Isaac Haqq, a savior, a culprit, or something in-between. But they seemed to agree on one point: Especially at the end of the summer, it’s in the best interest of the hundreds of Uprep students to fix the problems and move on.

Joseph Brokaw, whose son is close to graduating, might have captured the sentiment most eloquently:

“People are scared, and students are scared, and we don’t know what to do next. … Parents and grown-ups, we all make mistakes, but the kids suffer for it.”

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • D Mascharney Smith-Franklin

    The way I see it; if Isaac “Richard” Haqq is resigning this time for real, then the next step is to rid itself (UPREP) of the never prepared board members (opinion): who also just happen to be very close friends to Isaac and his wife. The students should no longer be subjected to Isaac’s , verbal abuse, threats of /and the practice of unofficial expulsions. I do although commend Roderick Deidrick for admitting that maybe he shouldn’t hold a position on the UPREP board, but lets not make the reason be because he “lives out of the district” (maybe he is finally tired of Issac & his wrong doing they go way back as per the newspaper articles). Pendergrass and Whitley don’t seem to be tired of being put on the spot. Let the truth be known Isaac has put quite a few people in the hot seat unecessarily. If only Isaac had let Mr. Shea continue being the on-site administrator (2002) , he (Mr. Shea)was very good to & for the students, I’m sure just became feed up with Isaac’s antics (just as most of us parents/students/surviving staff members). Even when Mrs. Jacks was the on site administrator there weren’t half as many problems. I also think some one should double chek his financial activities. I say this because he promissed my child a laptop for being accepted in the highest ranking school in 2005, but he ended up only giving $500. towards the purchase of the laptop, but he made the check out to me, in the memo section he wrote “for clean up”, I have never cleaned anything at this school, I’m disabled and unable to work. So if he did it with me, how many others were there. Not to mention the time he sent a 15yr old male student somewhere (Arizona if I recall correctly) on a one way ticket after telling the parent he
    was providing round trip airfare. If Issac will lie to and on students, parents,& teachers; what difference is it for him to cheat just to be on top (of the educational level) of all the high schools. I have always referred students to UPREP, I have had several of my younger cousins and a nephew (he graduated) attend school with the understanding that (my opinion) if they could ignore Isaac’s offensive mannerism, their child would be alright and would possibly obtain a very decent education there, my daughter did; but it was a struggle. Not once did I ask Isaac for the Fifty dollars per referral which he offered; because if a child made it through UPREP was reward enough for me. I have been there (active parent of UPREP) since the first meeting at the Muslim school on Bancroft, so yes I have seen them come and go (students & staff), even before a governing board was established we the parents were the board, with Ms. Robin Wells as acting board president. I as a concerened parent ended up at the state level to complain about the illegal things going on at UPREP, when I couldn’t get Liane Zimny to do anything. if you need to file a complaint, the contact person is Mr. Gregg Geeting 916-323-3906, he will instruct you how to file a complaint; especially when no one else will do anything.

    This is for the lady who claimed at the board meeting she has never had a bad experience with Isaac, it’s possible she was paid to be there, he has paid people in the past to speak at these meetings. I also would not put it past Isaac if some one had him on the phone during the whole meeting so he could listen in. My personal opinion about her comments, she wasn’t telling the truth, Isaac never attended any of the school(s) functions, we the parents did. I also do not recall her being at any of the meetings nor the nice brunch we parents attended right before the first graduating class’ departure from UPREP. WOW just think I could really go on, but enough is enough. Thanks Avery concerned parent of our village (city of Oakland)

  • Latoya

    In many situations, no one ever think about the consequences, or the after shock some problems may have. The students are going to suffer more than anyone else. The school officials did what they thought was the right thing to do (at the time) thinking they were helping out the students as well as themselves. Simply this was an unfair and selfish act on those who are involved. Where are these children suppose to go to school now??? They have torn apart a school that has grown together as a family. If anyone from Uprep would like to get their point across and have the media back you up (telling the truth), please contact me @ latoya.phillip@ktvu.com or 510-874-0489. I care and I want to help.