Vien Truong: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “THEIR CHILDREN” — THEY ARE ALL OUR CHILDREN: EDUCATE AMERICA

As a graduate of Oakland public schools, I am intimately aware of the myriad of problems that plague our under-resourced schools.  Growing up in a city where students are more likely to drop out than to graduate, my teachers thought I was “delusional” for planning to go to college.

Our country is at risk of losing an entire generation of young people in urban centers who feel trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, violence, hopelessness and despair.  Rather than continually investing in models that try to save the “deserving few” who can escape from these communities, we need solutions that can help the vast majority overcome these toxic conditions to become the responsible and productive adults that will eliminate those conditions.

Students who are regularly dealing with violence, hunger, unstable housing, and the broader effects of poverty and racism are not born bad students.  Rather than working to provide resources and the necessary infrastructure to improve their environment, we have devised ways to blame the students for their environment.  It’s time to try another way.  That’s why I’ve joined a team of amazing leaders to form Roses in Concrete, and, that’s why I’m inviting you to join us.

We are working to create a K-12 school-center in Oakland, CA that will function as a neighborhood center providing wrap-around services in education, health, housing, and job training.  Our long-term goal is to create a model for urban education that prioritizes the needs of youth and families as a pathway to building healthy and sustainable communities across the U.S. and around the world.

Our country is at risk of losing an entire generation of young people in urban centers who feel trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, violence, hopelessness and despair.  Rather than continually investing in models that try to save the “deserving few” who can escape from these communities, we need solutions that can help the vast majority overcome these toxic conditions to become the responsible and productive adults that will eliminate those conditions.

Students who are regularly dealing with violence, hunger, unstable housing, and the broader effects of poverty and racism are not born bad students.  Rather than working to provide resources and the necessary infrastructure to improve their environment, we have devised ways to blame the students for their environment.  It’s time to try another way.  That’s why I’ve joined a team of amazing leaders to form Roses in Concrete, and, that’s why I’m inviting you to join us.

We are working to create a K-12 school-center in Oakland, CA that will function as a neighborhood center providing wrap-around services in education, health, housing, and job training.  Our long-term goal is to create a model for urban education that prioritizes the needs of youth and families as a pathway to building healthy and sustainable communities across the U.S. and around the world.

Vien Truong graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California at Hastings College of the Law.  She is the Chair of the City of Oakland’s Planning Commission. She has taught Street Law at Castlemont High School and served as the Community Economic Justice Law Fellow at the East Bay Community Law Center, helping to address the systemic problems confronting low-income communities.

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