Oakland Teachers Gear Up for a Third Day of Strikes

Oakland teachers will strike again on Monday – the third day of walkouts affecting 34,000 children across the city.

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“Please prepare for the strike to continue Monday,” the teachers’ union, the Oakland Education Association, posted on Facebook Sunday afternoon. “Our bargaining team is working hard. We will let you know as soon as possible if the district makes the movement necessary to reach an agreement.”

Oakland Unified School District officials postponed a press conference Sunday evening before issuing a statement acknowledging the strike would continue Monday, with schools expected to continue operating the way they did Thursday and Friday – with office staff instructed to “educate and supervise” students who showed up.

“The District’s negotiating team continues to talk with the team from the Oakland Education Association (OEA), and we are hopeful that we are making progress towards a deal that will end the strike,” the district’s statement said in part. “We continue to focus on finding common ground with OEA to get this deal done.”

“I hope they resolve this soon,” said Tunisia Harris, whose youngest daughter attends the Oakland Academy of Knowledge. “It’s been several rough years for our children, and they’re all still trying to catch up.”

On Sunday afternoon, union representatives were still reviewing the latest package from the school district, which includes pay bumps for teachers and staff, one-time bonuses of $5,000, and responses to some of the union’s demands, such as training staff to de-escalate mental health crises.

The two sides appeared closest on compensation changes, as the district was offering to boost salaries from 13% to 22% for the next school year.

Monday’s strike comes after days of negotiation between the district and the union – on top of mediation efforts led by the state superintendent of education, Tony Thurmond. The impasse was largely due to the union’s focus on “common good” demands, which aim to address broader societal issues facing students across the city — like homelessness, racial justice, and environmental concerns.

“We miss our students like crazy. But we’re doing this for them,” Carrie Anderson, a second-grade teacher at Oakland’s Manzanita Community School, said Thursday afternoon.

The union’s common good demands included smaller class sizes, free student transportation, housing for homeless students, and creating school-site committees to share decision-making among administrators, faculty, and families. The union was also asking for school safety improvements that include more staff trained to de-escalate mental health crises and school time dedicated to fostering a positive social climate.

But Lakisha Young, the founder of parent-run organization Oakland Reach, said a strike won’t solve these issues – it will just make things worse by keeping children out of the classroom.

“These things need to be handled in a different way,” Young said Sunday. “The list of things folks want to be right in the district is so long that they’ll never go back to school if striking is the mechanism.”

Young said that on Sunday, her youngest son – a 13-year-old who goes to school in Oakland Unified – asked her whether he was going to school tomorrow.

“I just had to say: ‘I don’t know. I have no idea,’” Young said.

Young’s frustration echoed that of other parents scrambling to find a place for their kids to learn, especially with only 14 days left in the school year. Katya Caballero, who has one child at a school affected by the strikes, said she felt backed into a wall: she wants to support the teachers, but she doesn’t feel they fully understand what parents go through when a strike occurs.

“It’s the end of the year, and it’s a very important time for students,” said Caballero, speaking in Spanish through a translator. “I’ve seen the data, and if children are out of school for two days – that’s a lot.”

In a recent press release, the district said it understands the importance of the common good proposals, but feels it should be working with “all labor partners and city, county, state, and federal government leaders to address them.”

The district also has claimed many of the common good demands are outside the purview of a school district, and that Oakland Unified isn’t authorized by the school board to address them.

Click here to read the full article in the Mercury News

Comments

  1. tracker1 says

    Today teachers are expected to be parents, psychologists, police,baby sitters AND teach the subjects. That has becoming nearly impossible in many classrooms. On the other side there are many teachers who are NOT teaching the subjects that they were hired to teach. The indoctrination of liberalism/woke has advanced to a very significant level. Many students, without parental support or control, have stopped learning so are moving ahead without the basic skills of reading, writing, arithmetic and responsibility. While the demands of the striking teachers may be out of line, they are not without reason.

  2. Doc Roberts says

    Tie pay increase to a positive increase in test scores other wise it’s a waste of money. Don’t believe for one second that the teachers are doing this for the students, it’s the teachers paycheck, stupid.

  3. The union represents the teacher’s not the students

  4. There is no longer any meritocracy in most public education. Getting a raise to feed propaganda and fail teaching the three R’s to our kids is unacceptable. Get the scores up and lose the dysfunctional Woke curriculum, then ask.

    My new bumper sticker reads…

    The Proud parent of a
    unknown sex and abilities
    Public School Student

  5. The ongoing strikes by Oakland teachers highlight the crucial role that educators play in shaping the future of our society. It is important that we value and support their work through fair wages and adequate resources to ensure that all students receive a quality education.

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