by Heath Madom, Alicia Arnold, Jah-Yee Woo, Katie Bailey and Elizabeth Haugen, Oakland Tech Educators
Oakland – Jan. 16, 2019 – On Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, teachers and support staff from Oakland Technical High School will join together with educators from across Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) in a one-day work action. This work action will significantly impact the school day, and we expect that a large majority of educators at Oakland Tech will participate.
Educators and community members from schools all over Oakland will rally at Oakland Technical High School from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.. At 9:00 a.m., educators will march down Broadway towards the OUSD office at 1000 Broadway and converge there until approximately 1:00 p.m.
This work action will significantly impact the school day, and we expect that a large majority of educators at Oakland Tech will participate.
This “Day Without Educators” will give a small preview of what an actual, open-ended strike would feel like. We are doing this to demonstrate to OUSD that we are ready to strike for smaller class sizes and a competitive wage that will allow us to keep working with our families and students in the city that we love.
OUSD has systematically underinvested in students and classrooms for years, and we are no longer willing to accept that reality. We demand that OUSD prioritize investing in students and classrooms to ensure that teachers can stay in Oakland and that our students get the support they need to succeed.
We are doing this to demonstrate to OUSD that we are ready to strike for smaller class sizes and a competitive wage that will allow us to keep working with our families and students in the city that we love.
“Public schools are the fertile ground for our city and our country’s future growth, and it is dangerously short-sighted to underfund them. I have taught in the Health Academy at Oakland Tech for 10 years, and now when I take my children to their appointments, I find former students taking their vitals and giving them care.
“Our society will get out of our schools what we put into them. In an increasingly complex age, the only way to ensure our children and our country’s health and wellbeing is to invest in students, teachers and classrooms,” said Katie Bailey, an English and U.S. Government teacher at Oakland Tech.
For nearly two years, the Oakland Education Association has been negotiating with the Oakland Unified School District to secure more resources for classrooms, including:
- A living wage to enable experienced teachers to remain teaching in Oakland
- Smaller class sizes so students can receive the individualized support they deserve
- Commitment to sufficient student support staff in every school, such as nurses, counselors, librarians, psychologists, speech pathologists and resource specialists
“Schools are not factories, and in order for teachers to be able to provide students with the individualized support they need to grow and thrive, and to build relationships based on trust, smaller class sizes are necessary,” said Jah-Yee Woo, an English and U.S. History teacher at Oakland Tech. Many teachers at Tech have class sizes above the contractual limit of 32, with some reporting class sizes as high as 37 and 38 students.
Although the district had a $30 million surplus last year, it claims it cannot afford to make these improvements and invest in the success of OUSD students. Moreover, the district is threatening to shut down as many as 24 schools in the Flatlands without adequate community input and engagement.
We are not willing to wait any longer. There are no schools without quality educators. And there are no quality schools without community involvement and adequate resources. We invite members of the press and the community to join us on Friday, Jan. 18, for our work action. Oakland teachers demand better for our students, and our students deserve it.
We invite members of the press and the community to join us on Friday, Jan. 18, for our work action. Oakland teachers demand better for our students, and our students deserve it.
For more information, contact Heath Madom at 917-755-2235 or OaklandTechEducators@gmail.com.