With the teachers’ strike pushing to its 5th day, over 34,000 students and parents wonder: is the school year completely over?
There are only 11 school days left in the 2022-2023 academic year.
The standoff between the Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association teachers union deepened on Wednesday when the district’s school board canceled the regular board meeting.
According to the union, the cancelation underscored the district’s leadership failures.
Furthermore, the union stated that thousands of teachers would only return to their classrooms once a new contract agreement is reached.
OUSD has kept the school “open” throughout the strike, but most students chose to stay home.
The teachers’ strike “should never have happened in the first place,” district officials wrote.
OUSD President Mike Hutchinson said district officials would only bargain over teachers’ wages and working conditions. However, it’s not the only thing the union is bargaining for.
Since Day 1, union officials have stated the strike concerns teachers and students.
Here are their demands.
- Use vacant school district buildings to house homeless students. (More than 1,500 students are classified as “unhoused.”)
- Terminate district administrative jobs before closing schools.
- Provide more school psychologists for students struggling with mental health.
- Pay raises for teachers.
- Invest in schools with 40% or more Black students, designated as Black Thriving Community Schools.
- Improve school safety by addressing violence, rat infestations, raw sewage, and leaky roofs.
- Provide more resources and support to Special Education students and teachers.
OEA union leaders wrote, “The strike by educators is and has been about more than a livable wage. ‘Common Good’ issues and the ability of educators to use their professional judgement to advocate for the needs of students also is subject to bargaining. OUSD doesn’t want to bargain over ‘Common Good’ issues.”
Union members and their supporters rallied on Wednesday afternoon outside OUSD’s canceled school boarding meeting at La Escuelita Elementary at 1050 2nd Avenue.
OUSD Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell said the district’s negotiation team is working around the clock.
“Many of our 34,000 students were, again, home. I know this has been incredibly frustrating for our students and families. It is imperative that our students conclude the year positively with the many exciting and memorable experiences we cherish at this time of year,” Trammell said.
“The strike ends with OEA leadership calls it off. The more demands, and the greater the cost, the fewer that are addressed. That is the nature of bargaining everywhere,” Trammell said.
The NAACP Oakland branch is also urging the teachers union to end the strike. “We disagree with the decision to disrupt the critical end of the year learning and activities while the parties are still negotiating. We strongly urge the OEA to reconsider its decision to strike at such a critical time in the school year,” the NAACP Oakland president wrote.