New Report Elevates Oakland’s Innovative Education Efforts as National Models


December 22, 2022

Contact: Jonathon Dworkin, 202-660-1340 x5

New Report Elevates Oakland’s Innovative Education Efforts as National Models

NewDEAL Forum releases policy recommendations and best practices gathered during a visit of state and local officials to study Mayor Schaaf’s initiatives to provide students with “Cradle to College” support and address the digital divide

Washington D.C. – Today, the NewDEAL Forum released a report highlighting Oakland, CA Mayor Libby Schaaf’s innovative education programs, which are preparing young people for college and career and connecting all students to high-speed internet. The report’s findings come out of a convening this year when the Forum brought a delegation of policymakers from across the country to Oakland to explore lessons of Schaaf’s work on these issues. Today’s release continues the effort to share the programs with a national network of state and local leaders, including through the Forum’s sister organization, the NewDEAL.

Read the full report here. (A full list of policymakers who joined the delegation in Oakland is below).

A delegation of elected officials, along with our partners at All4Ed, met with members of the Schaaf administration, the Oakland Unified School District, leaders of organizations implementing the work, and students to examine the success of Oakland Promise’s cradle-to-career education work, including college savings accounts, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities, as well as #OaklandUndivided, which is connecting children and families to high-speed internet connections and devices.

The Forum and NewDEAL have a track record of spreading policy solutions on issues including education, broadband, the future of work, and climate change. The document reviews the delegation’s findings about the programs and includes insights into how state and local policymakers can use them as models for other communities. Some notable highlights include:

Mayor Schaaf established an ambitious goal to triple the number of Oakland students who graduate, and created a mayoral Education Team to implement the effort.

The Mayor’s office utilized its convening power to bring together government agencies, community organizations, and private partners to generate significant public and private financial support to scale the programs and their impact.

The various programs had clear goals and objectives to not only provide resources to students, but explicitly strive to make systemic changes, such as shifting mindsets among students and their families and create a college-career focused culture.

As emphasized by student participants, effective college and career counseling had a high return on investment, and offering dual-enrollment programs to give students a jumpstart on college made a big impact.

Dramatically improving internet access required collecting actionable data, as the city did through a simple school district survey, and partnering with trusted messengers to get families signed up for assistance.

“Thank you to Mayor Schaaf for not only hosting our group but for her impressive service as Oakland’s mayor. Her many inspiring initiatives serve as examples of practical solutions that have real impacts in reducing barriers to opportunity and improving people’s lives, which is exactly the kind of policy the NewDEAL Forum seeks to foster and promote,” said NewDEAL Forum CEO Debbie Cox Bultan. “She leaves an impressive legacy in Oakland, particularly for her sustained efforts in the education space, highlighted by a $50 million Generation Fund to provide scholarships for over 30,000 students and babies from low-income backgrounds.”

Since Oakland Promise was formally launched in 2016, over 1,900 babies and students have received College Savings Accounts, 30,000 students have received early college scholarships, Oakland public and charter school students have increased access to college and career centers, and thousands have received targeted college access and persistence support in addition to growing scholarship funds. #OaklandUndivided has distributed over 35,000 computers and 15,000 hotspots and responded to over 18,000 tech support requests to date. The program successfully increased home access to a computer, the internet, and tech support for students from low-income backgrounds from 12% pre-pandemic to 98% at the end of the 2020–21 school year. If you would like more info, go to and

About NewDEAL Forum

The NewDEAL Forum is a non-profit organization which identifies and promotes innovative, future-oriented state and local pro-growth progressive policies that can improve the lives of all Americans. By facilitating the identification and spread of policy ideas, the NewDEAL Forum seeks to foster economic growth, reduce barriers to opportunity, and promote good government in communities and states. The Forum advances its mission by researching, identifying, and sharing state and local pro-growth progressive policy ideas and bringing together public, private, and non-profit sector policy experts to exchange ideas and discuss the country’s biggest challenges.

Visiting Delegation of State and Local Leaders included:

Alabama: Representative Anthony Daniels – House Minority Leader – Huntsville

Connecticut: Senator Bob Duff – Senate Majority Leader – Norwalk

Georgia: Senator Elena Parent – Senate Democratic Caucus Leader – Atlanta

Maryland: Councilmember Hans Riemer – Montgomery County

Missouri: Alderwoman Annie Rice – St. Louis

Nevada: Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno – Asst. Majority Floor Leader – Las Vegas

Oklahoma: Senator Michael Brooks-Jimenez – Oklahoma City

Oregon: Mayor Lacey Beaty – Beaverton

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