Oakland Unified School District teachers demand justice for Oakland teachers and students

by Tawana Guillaume, Craig Dittmann and Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu, Teachers

Timothy-Killings-after-school-coordinator-at-Markham-Elementary-School-speaks-at-teacher-walkout-outside-Oakland-City-Hall-by-Jana-Asenbrennerova-SF-Chron-300x200, Oakland Unified School District teachers demand justice for Oakland teachers and students, Local News & Views
Timothy Killings, after school coordinator at Markham Elementary School, gives a speech outside Oakland City Hall during the Dec. 10 teachers’ rally. – Photo: Jana Asenbrennerova, SF Chronicle

Oakland – On Monday, Dec. 10, teachers from Madison Park Academy Upper joined with teachers across Oakland Unified School District to demand that OUSD prioritize teacher retention and access to student supports in order to maximize student success. Educators, students and community members rallied at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

For nearly two years, the Oakland Education Association has been bargaining with Oakland Unified School District for:

  • A living wage so experienced teachers remain teaching in Oakland
  • Smaller class sizes
  • More student supports – nurses, counselors, psychologists, speech pathologists and resource specialists. Although the district had a $30 million surplus last year, it is claiming it cannot afford to make these improvements and invest in the success of OUSD students.

In comparison to other Alameda County school districts, on average, OUSD spends $67 million less on teachers and support service salaries. Additionally, the district spends $42 million more on consultants than the state average and $22 million more on administration than the county average.

Essentially, OUSD spends $66 million more on expenses that do not directly impact student learning. Meanwhile, the total cost of the Oakland Education Association’s proposal to the district is only $57.6 million – $24 million for teacher and support staff salaries, $18.4 million for smaller class sizes and $15.2 million for more student support.

Oakland Unified School District can and must do better. Oakland students deserve better. Oakland teachers demand better. We will continue to make our demands heard until OUSD ensures that students receive the best education possible and teachers receive the compensation we need to remain in Oakland, teaching the students we love.

About MPA Educators United

MPA Educators United is a group of teachers from Madison Park Academy Upper who are committed to creating sustainable work conditions for teachers and productive educational environments for students in Oakland Unified School District. We believe in the transformative power of quality public education, and that with the proper supports OUSD students will thrive.

For more information, contact Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu, at  400capistrano@gmail.com.