CONCORD – Northgate Uncapped and The Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center (MDPJC), along with their network of members and supporters, will gather at the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) offices prior to next week’s MDUSD School Board meeting to voice opposition to the Northgate Community Advocates for Public Schools (NCAPS) proposal to form a new school district and its associated transfer of territory petition.
The organizations’ BETTER TOGETHER rally will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 26, at the James W. Dent Center, 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord 94519.
“The educators of the Mt. Diablo School District are deeply concerned about the secessionist movement underway in our community. The NCAPS proposal includes a voting recommendation that would disenfranchise a significant number of voters who are within the district boundaries, should a vote take place,” said Meg Honey, spokesperson for Northgate UNCAPPED, a coalition of educators, advocates, and community members who oppose the secession.
“Most troubling is the outright exclusion of Oak Grove Middle School and Ygnacio Valley High School from this proposed ‘community’ school district,” she added, “However, we are still unclear about the secessionist group’s plans for these schools. Do they intend to acquire the facilities as part of the territory transfer while displacing the 2000 students who attend these schools?”
The territory transfer would also affect more than half of the student population at Highlands Elementary – about 325 students – posing serious impacts to the school that would result in staff reductions and program changes.
“This movement, although representative of a troubling, nationwide trend, stands in direct contradiction to the values of the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center,” said Daniel Reynolds, the Center’s Board Chair. “We see a movement that will disrupt educational services in our community, put vulnerable students at risk, and increase segregation.”
Both organizations provide information to the greater community about the negative impacts should a new district come to fruition. Members have staged rallies, spoken at local city council and County Board of Education hearings, penned Op-Ed pieces, and maintained an active social media presence. In May, the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center issued a resolution of support for maintaining Mt. Diablo Unified School District.
Both organizations are concerned about the long-term impact of the secessionist movement, specifically how Walnut Creek has become part of a growing number of affluent communities who are seeking separation from more diverse, lower socio-economic school districts.
“Using dog-whistle terms like ‘local control’ and ‘community based governance,’ secessionist groups’ true motives are often racially- and economically- motivated,” said Reynolds, “They seek to build walls between communities, rather than bridges of understanding.”
“The Mt. Diablo Unified School District has made tremendous improvements over the last four years. High levels of student achievement is seen district wide, and especially in the Northgate feeder pattern,” added Honey. “To derail this progress would hurt students and jeopardize the specialized services and programs that our families depend on and value.”
About Meg Honey
Meg Honey teaches Advanced Placement (AP) United States History at Northgate High School. In addition to her high school teaching, Ms. Honey is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California where she teaches in the Multiple and Single Subject Teaching Credential Programs as well as in the Master of Arts in Teaching Leadership program. Ms. Honey has served as the Director of Communications for Sojourn to the Past, a social justice and civil rights movement education program, and is a Teacher Leader with the UC Berkeley History Social Science Project. Ms. Honey is the 2017 MDUSD Teacher of the Year.
About Daniel Reynolds
Daniel Reynolds is the Board Chair for the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center. He also heads MDPJC’s Education Committee and is a member of the organization’s Creating Peaceful Schools Subcommittee. Mr. Reynolds is an award-winning teacher and human rights educator. Mr. Reynolds is the chair of the Curriculum Study Commission of the Central California Council for the Teachers of English and currently works with the California Teachers Association.
About the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center
The Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center is Contra Costa County’s leading social justice organization, inspiring peacemaking through education, advocacy, and community-building. The organization is celebrating its 48th year of programming, speaker series, and student art and writing contests.
About the Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Mt. Diablo Unified, located in Contra Costa County, is honored to serve approximately 32,000 students at one of more than 50 school sites in the cities of Clayton, Concord, Pleasant Hill; portions of Martinez, Pittsburg and Walnut Creek; and the unincorporated communities of Bay Point, Lafayette, and Pacheco. As part of a richly diverse community, MDUSD families represent numerous ethnic groups, speaking nearly 50 different languages and dialects. We offer award-winning innovative programs in Career Technical Education; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); extensive visual and performing arts programs; and rich foreign language and dual immersion offerings. MDUSD is also pleased to have launched its first middle college program, College Now, and will open its first International Baccalaureate program and three new regional magnet programs in 2017. Learn more at http://www.mdusd.org/.