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.”