California parents frustrated by COVID closures plan to continue activism through nonprofit

A rally to reopen schools is held in West L.A. Feb. 27, 2021.

A rally to reopen schools is held in West L.A. Feb. 27, 2021.

The group OpenSchoolsCA coalesced around parent anger over how long it was taking to reopen California campuses that were closed for a year or more amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Their discontent simmered for months when reopenings offered students much less than a full five-day-a-week school experience.

Leaders of OpenSchoolsCA announced Wednesday that they intend to continue their activism through a nonprofit to promote direct parent influence in the state’s highly political education landscape.

“As one of the tens of thousands of California moms who stepped back from the workforce to care for my school-age children, working moms must never be the default option for closed schools,” said Megan Bacigalupi, the founding parent and executive director of the new group. “Parent voices and student interests should never again be ignored or deprioritized as they have been during this year. Parents and kids must have a seat at the table.”

Bacigalupi has a kindergartener and second-grader in the Oakland Unified School District. At this stage, with funding a work in progress, Bacigalupi will be the nonprofit’s only paid staff member. She’s a lawyer who has held leadership roles in Bay Area nonprofits. Prior to moving back to California, she worked for seven years in the mayor’s office in New York city, including as the director of federal legislative affairs at the Department of Education.

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