OUSD Teachers On Strike Today

images of handmade posters stating "straight outta funding" and "help oakland teachers stay in oakland"
Signs from the May 2019 teachers strike.

Today, unionized OUSD teachers and other staff went on strike, as bargaining continues with the district.

“Our goal was and still is to bargain a contract that will help the Oakland Unified recruit and retain good teachers and provide our 35,000 students with much-needed services,” special education teacher and Oakland Education Association Interim President Ismael Armendariz said. “We’re not going to just go along to get along. If the District won’t respect and fulfill the urgent needs of students and teachers, they should expect resistance.”

About 3,000 classroom teachers, school counselors, substitutes, nurses, and social workers are represented by the union. Some or all schools remained open, with non-union staff taking care of children, though a regular school day and curriculum likely will not take place.

The last time there was an Oakland teachers strike was in May of 2019, which lasted seven days.

Oakland teachers have one of the lowest salaries in all of the Bay Area’s school districts, and one of the lowest in the entire state for mid-career teachers of large districts. According to an EdSource analysis, “Oakland has among the lowest-paid mid-career teachers statewide. Of the state’s 22 largest school districts that filed teacher pay data with the state, Oakland ranks 20 in actual pay and 22 in pay adjusted for local cost of living.”

The starting salary for a first year teacher is $52,905. The district has stated that it would increase a first year teacher’s salary to $63,604 next school year, and that there would be an increase for all teachers of 13-22 percent.

However, the union has other demands, including “…Creating shared leadership structures in schools, fully implementing the district’s Reparations for Black Students policy, guaranteeing one year of community engagement before closing schools, and providing housing and transportation for unhoused students,” according to an Oaklandside article.

This is a developing story.

The author is a former OUSD teacher (2002-2004).

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Momo Chang

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