Who can join the BPU?
Membership is open to current parents/caregivers of BUSD students. Because many students graduate with parents who have institutional knowledge to support their understanding of the type of school board director BUSD needs, the BPU includes any caregiver that has had a student in BUSD within the last three years. We also hope this will help caregivers of graduating students develop relationships with current parents which can provide much needed mentoring support that will ultimately benefit student outcomes.
Can BUSD staff join the BPU?
The BPU welcomes all caregivers of current BUSD students as reflected above. Many BUSD educators are parents, and our collective voice is what the Berkeley Parents Union supports.
Who helped start the BPU?
This is a grass roots parent-led initiative. The founding collaborators include current caregivers of BUSD students who serve on a variety of leadership committees that engage parents in the Berkeley Public School System: BSEP; SBAC; BPTA; PAC; SSC; PTA Boards. In addition, caregivers that support our schools through classroom, schoolyard supervision, and other acts of volunteerism helped form this initiative. The Berkeley Parents Union is neither affiliated with any national organization nor any large political movements. It's a local initiative.
Is this group a part of any of the parent organizations formed during the pandemic?
This is a completely new organization that welcomes all parents that want to participate and meet the criteria (any caregiver that has had a student in BUSD within the last three years).
How diverse is the BPU group?
The grass roots organizers of the BPU represent a variety of ethnicities who offer diverse perspectives, experiences, and socio-economic status. Through targeted outreach to all BUSD families, the BPU is confident it can maintain a membership that reflects the many diverse intersectionalities of its organizers and the BUSD student body.
Is there a conflict of interest if you’re on the PTA, a 501(c)3, and involved with this?
In our review of the PTA rules, we don’t believe there is a conflict of interest to be involved with the PTA and the BPU. In fact, because the PTA’s can’t provide a collective endorsement, organizations such as the BPU are expanding rapidly throughout school districts across America.
What kinds of policies are you pushing for?
We do not take positions on specific policies or issues. Our goal is to inform Berkeley voters who we believe will best serve our students as School Board Directors. Based on what candidates have shared, the BPU will market candidates it believes will best serve the diverse needs of the Berkeley Public School Community.
What are your views on labor unions?
Many of us know firsthand the benefits unions provided to our own families as children, and currently as adult members of labor unions. Labor unions play a critical role in improving working conditions and increasing compensation. The work of unions is an essential driving force in expanding the middle class in the United States.
Do you support teachers?
We need and deeply respect teachers. Caregivers of Berkeley Public schools have raised thousands of dollars to support teachers' needs outside of the classroom. We will continue to do so as we are grateful for the support they provide our children throughout their educational journey. The faculty of BUSD are critical to realizing the mission of Berkeley Public Schools which directly impacts life outcomes for our kids and our nation.
Where do you receive your funding?
We are pleased to be accepting donations under $250 at our secure page https://donorbox.org/donate-to-the-bpu. These donations will support the mission of the BPU and allow us to reach a wider audience. We continue to run mostly on volunteer power, and are not being funded by national organizations or business entities, including the National Parents Union.