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A pay cut for Oakland teachers?

By Katy Murphy
Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 at 10:31 pm in OEA, OUSD central office, teachers, union contract.

To think that in January 2008, the Oakland teacher union’s first contract proposal included 20 percent pay raises and class sizes of 15 to 20 students.

Union leaders say teachers are now being asked to take a 3 percent pay cut and that the district wants to cap its health benefit contributions.

This news did not go over well. Hundreds of teachers left their schools at 2 p.m. and marched from Lake Merritt to the district office, demanding a better contract.


photos courtesy of Craig Gordon, Oakland Education Association board member

Meanwhile adult school teachers — mostly represented by a different union, a local chapter of the AFT/CFT — protested the layoffs of 80 temporary teachers in response to dramatic reductions in state funding and new rules that allow school districts to dip into funds once designated for adult education.

Did I mention that it’s Day of the Teacher in California?

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  • Public School Fan

    How can it be possible that the teachers are being asked to take another pay cut? Aren’t OUSD teachers some of the lowest paid in the area? How will the district keep any decent teachers? How will it entice new (and hopefully) talented young teachers to come here? I’m sure that is the dream of all teachers to come to a dysfunctional school district for some of the lowest pay around. There has to be a better way than this.

    For starters, how about not contracting out so much money to outside consultants for endless studies (such as the never-ending study of the “portfolio” of school and school property). Katy, is there any way to figure out how much the district spent on outside consulting of all kinds last year?

  • Katy Murphy

    Do you mean consultants hired by the central office to conduct studies, evaluations, etc., or all outside contractors, including those (such as BayCES coaches and Sports 4 Kids programs) chosen by individual schools?

    I think those two categories are lumped together in the $77 million estimate used by the OEA, and I’m not sure they should be.

  • Jim Mordecai

    Katy:

    I believe you are correct that consultant contracts include decisions made at the school site in the $77 million figure.

    However, one point is that whether a decision is made at the school site or by the central administration, $77 figure is a very big figure and should be carefully evaluated item by item and current procedures and philosophy work against doing so.

    Some of the consultant money may make sense. For example the consultant might be paid out of grant money that it would only make sense to hire someone outside of OUSD rather than a teacher on special assignment. But, not all $77 million.

    Sports 4 Kids has many supporters but also is in part funded by money that use to go to school libraries when libraries were part of categorical money. Now that the money can be used for anything there is prioritizing and it is the prioritizing of the $77 million that does not, in my opinion, get done in a open fashion with millions being spent for consultants being passed at board meeting as part of the State Administrator’s consent calendar. The consent calendar means a motion is passed as part of a package of motions that may spend millions and never be discussed.

    The idea of school sites decision making is part of that $77 million and it well may be an approach that cannot be supported when cut after cut requires look at the big picture.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nextset

    The public schools would do well to set up infrastructure for internet classes. These budget cuts will get a lot worse before they get better. A lot worse. Alternatives and other options need to be ready.

  • Patrick

    As VSmoothe reported at A Better Oakland, only 40% of school age children in Oakland have regular access to the internet. Shocking in and of itself, but it also means that internet classes are not an option for most children in our City.

  • harlemmoon

    Everybody is being asked to take pay cuts, furloughs and other heretofore unheard of sacrifices.
    Why should teachers be any different?
    It’s a new time. And the days of expecting a job – not to mention a raise – are long over.
    What’s more OEA is all about OEA. The could give a darn about the young charges of OUSD.

  • Public School Fan

    Katy,
    Thanks for the figure of $77 million for outside consultancy contracts. Yes, I agree with you that perhaps lumping both central office consultancy contracts and outside consultants’ contracts made by the individual schools into one category does not give us the real flavor of how much money is spent on this area. I guess I am more interested in the central office contracts with outside consultants as it seems to me that there could be some real cost savings here. Seems like every board meeting that I’ve been to, there’s a list of outside consultancy contracts to be approved that’s a mile long. Also seems to me that some of the “studies” bought by OUSD and/or the Board are duplicative. Every time someone new comes on board, he or she wants their own studies (usually done by outside consultants) despite the fact that OUSD itself should have some ability (albeit not a lot of ability) to do some of these reviews on its own — such as the portfolio review. Given how large a number $77 million is, it seems like decisions to hire outside contractors should not be made lightly and should be made only when there is little alternative.

  • TheTruthHurts

    I asked a school official and was told the teachers are still holding to 20% and free health benefits. Sounds wacky to me in our current environment. After all, The Truth Hurts.

    However, someone does need to scrub that $77 million number.

    Katy, do you have any information on what’s in there?

  • Public School Fan

    I also understand that the teachers never got the COLA that was promised them in the last round of bargaining three years ago. I have been told that the state gives districts COLA money, but that the districts can spend it as they please and our district has not given it to the teachers despite the agreement that they had with the teachers. Anyone know if this is true? If so, then the OUSD teachers are even more woefully underpaid. Their pay is the bottom of the Bay Area districts. Even in these bad financial times, how is it that OUSD is trying to dig its way out of its hole by decreasing teacher’s salaries and benefits even further?

    That $77 million number is looking bigger and bigger.

  • kyu

    Sorry to post off the subject folks, but please help sign the petition to keep the A’s at home.

    http://www.letsgooakland.com/

    Thanks and go A’s!!!

  • Oakland Teacher

    Oakland Teachers understand that times are beyond tough. What I don’t understand is why people are willing to accept that anyone who teachers in OUSD is worth less than a teacher who teaches anywhere else. Do you think Oakland kids deserve inferior or only new teachers? Do you think that we should have a district filled with a migrant labor teacher force, where uncredentialled/intern teachers come in for two years while earning their credential and then leave for more pay?

    I own a home here, my kids have been/are being raised here, and I teach here. I am highly qualified by anyone’s measure (two Master’s Degrees plus 4 credentials), but my community/school district thinks I should be paid less than any other neighboring school district. I love my community and love my job, but I will not accept another pay cut. It is impossible for me to raise my kids and pay for them to attend college on less money than I currently make. I don’t know of any jobs that would have someone earn the same pay 10 years later. No one should be expected to accept that.

    To Poster #6 – “What’s more OEA is all about OEA. The could give a darn about the young charges of OUSD.”
    You don’t know anything about me or the people I work with. We care a great deal about our students and their families. That is why we do what we do every day. That is why we take classes – unpaid and often at our own cost every summer, to keep abreast of new methodology and new materials. That is why we work multiple unpaid hours, often 7 days weekly. That is why we visit our student’s homes, make phone calls home to share concerns and successes. That is why we spend an average of over $1500 yearly (a few years ago I spent over $3000)of our own money on materials for our classroom. Please keep your comments civil and spend time with some teachers before casting your negative untruths.

  • Public School Fan

    I wish that all teachers were like you, Oakland Teacher. At our school, while a few teachers are willing to put in extra time, many others adhere quite firmly to the idea of “work to the contract” or whatever the term is — such that they adhere exactly to the terms of their union contract. Extra hours? no. Visits to students’homes? no. Make phone calls to share concerns and joys? no. Spend their money on materials? no. Set aside a few minutes before or after school for conferences or tutoring? no. Communicate on a regular basis with a parent? no. A few do, but many do not. Teachers like you, Oakland Teacher, should be paid more for going above and beyond what your contract requires. Perhaps there should be a “bonus pool” (i know, I know, there supposedly isn’t any money to do this) such that teachers who really care and go the extra mile would be rewarded remuneratively.

    But I also think that your union doesn’t do you any favors in the public perception category. While many people have lost jobs, homes, etc., making it seem as though the union is standing firm on 20% pay increase and full benefits, isn’t sympathetic. Too bad your union can’t seem to put the right spin on this. (Really it is too bad that spin is needed, but that’s the way the world works, unfortunately.) But you shouldn’t be forced to take a pay cut. That is simply not right.

  • Joe Public

    The $77 million figure for consultants is extremely out of control and it is irresponsible for the district to lump them all together…schools and central office. There is no transparency in that. I doubt every school in the district spends an average of $100K on consultants. Even if they spent an average of $200K it would only add up to $24 million figuring 120 schools. (I know the sites aren’t putting out that much: most couldn’t afford it). Where does central office spend the other $50 million at? That figure maybe lower, or it may be higher.

    Isn’t the total operating budget of the district about $350 million? Assuming 40K kids at $8K a pop. Do consultant fees actually represent 20+% of that figure?

    No wonder kids aren’t learning and teachers aren’t paid that much. I do recall some number to the tune of every percent raise equated to about $3 million because it meant a raise for everyone. Many contracts are linked to others. The good ole “me too” clause.

  • turner

    Joe Public,
    It would be wise to get more detail on the $77 million before we attack OUSD.

    From what I know, these expenses are tracked in the account code 5800, which is defined as “Professional/Consulting Services and Operating Expenditures”.

    We need to know how much of this was spent on Special Ed. Mandated expenses to Special Ed providers and other consultants who are not employees are paid for under this code.

    Auditors (Controller, SSC, etc) and other related expenses are also paid for under this code.

    Several legitimate and very necessary services are paid out of this code. Sure, consultants also get paid out here too and they may very well have been paid in the millions. But like Truth Hurts says, the number should be scrubbed so we can know exactly how much was paid to consultants like those from Broad. Also, don’t forget that some of the Broad alumni were considered staff and were paid as employees, NOT as consultants.

    Turner

  • Some details

    As mentioned, the 77m figure is from OEA.

    From the Multi-Year Sustainability Plan presented by the Sup. to the Board this year…

    In 2007-08 the District spent $65.9 million on consultants and vendors. Unrestricted funds made up $14,195,640 (21.58%) of that spending, while the remaining $51,590,746 (78.42%) came from restricted funds.

    OUSD spent a large portion of its restricted consultant dollars on federal and state mandates such as special education ($14M), after-school programs ($15M), and Title I supplementary education services ($3.8M).

    It is mandated by state law that the After School Education and Safety (ASES) programs must be contracted out to vendors. Similarly, The $3 million Central Office Title I expenditure is a mandatory set-aside per federal guidelines for supplemental education services.

    A large portion of unrestricted consultant dollars were spent on school-based items, to make up $ 6.5 million, or 45%, of total unrestricted consultant spending. Approximately 43.5% of the restricted expenditures were spent at the school level.

  • Follow the Money

    The $77 million dollar figure really comes from OUSD’s Unaudited Actuals statement, which is a required state document in uniform formatting for all districts, as opposed to the Sustainability Plan, which has more leeway to be a piece of creative writing and make $11 million just disappear.

    The $77 million figure combines $30.9 million for “Subagreements for Services” (category 5100) and $46.7 million for “Professional Consulting Services and
    Operating Expenditures” (category 5800).

    Given how spreadsheets work, OUSD should have a list of all the checks it wrote to add up to $77 million and be able to aggregate how much was paid to each vendor in single or multiple transactions/payments. Where’s that list? If the district’s current leaders persist in claiming they cannot produce that under public records, future leaders need to be asked if such accountability is a priority for them.

  • turner

    Good scrubbing of the numbers, “Some Details” & “Follow the Money”.

    I think if we argue about consultant costs, we should know how much they were paid. Some expenses as listed by “Some Details” above are mandated by law. We can’t blame OUSD for that.

    Someone should submit a FOIA request to the district asking for an electronic download of the data in 5100 and 5800 account codes for the last fiscal year. Should be easy to do, shouldn’t it?

    Turner

  • cranky teacher

    Public School Fan, here is the “spin” you asked for:

    The 20% pay raise is a POLITICAL STATEMENT. We KNOW we’re not getting that. The point is to tell everybody that we think Oakland teachers should be paid what other districts pay.

    The equally outrageous demand for 15-20 students per class (15 elementary, 20 secondary) is also POLITICAL. It is telling the community at large, if you REALLY want us to do a good job of teaching without destroying our own lives to do it (i.e., working 75-hour weeks), you need to get serious about class-size reduction.

    And class-size reduction is ALL about quality of education — if a teacher wants to “work to rule,” they can just as easily teach 35 kids as 20, just be giving less work to grade, not calling home, etc.

    As for a union being for the teachers: Why is that so weird/bad to people? Isn’t that the purpose of a union, to advocate for better contracts?

    Frankly, it would be easy to get bitter in this job at the community (our state) for paying lip service to “think of the poor children” when they are not wiling to increase taxes to adequetly fund the schools.

    Before I was a teacher, I might have donated to the schools an extra $50 a year through raffle tickets or some such. That was somebody else’s problem. Now, as a teacher, I donate $500 to $2000 a year, not even counting free labor donation.

    Don’t bitch about teacher’s unions unless you’re really kicking in your own time and money to right this ship. And if you’re a parent and want more contact with the teacher, drag your ass in there once a month — why should the teacher do all the work? Do you know that teachers on average have 45 minutes paid a day to do ALL their lesson planning, grading, phone calls, parent conferences, IEP meetings, classroom organization, collaboration and even just take a goddamn leak?!

    And for those “work to rule” burnt-out vets people love to hate on, remember: They are at least consistently there all day providing services in rooms you don’t want to be in. Now you want them to spend 40 years making phone calls every night? You have a lot of nerve, people.

  • harlemmoon

    Cranky! Language, language!
    Let’s be clear, folks from every profession can relate stories of great sacrifice, tales of woe and great hardship.
    That doesn’t quite cover the fact that in a new world, we’ve all got to re-evaluate what has been the norm (such as raises in tight – actually abnormally brutal – times) and consider different ways to meet the collective’s needs – while making the individual feel whole.

  • Public School Fan

    Oh, Cranky!
    You too must be careful of what you say. I support OUSD teachers in a big way. And I am regularly at the school my kids attend and at many OUSD meetings and Board meetings. I volunteer the vast majority of discretionary time at the school and as many discretionary dollars toward the school as I can afford. I AM “kicking in [my] own time and money to right this ship.” I do “drag my ass” to school more than once a month (as you suggest that I should) — more like 5 days a week — to help the teachers and staff in any way that I can. And that’s why I feel that I can legitimately bitch about some of what I see.

    Teachers have a hard hard job. And teachers in OUSD have an even harder one. You deserve to get paid way more than you do. You should not have to take a pay cut. The district should not even be suggesting one to you. OUSD teachers should not be the lowest paid teachers in the entire region. But that doesn’t mean that you are always right and that everyone in your profession does the best that they are capable of. There is too much sanctimonious political backbiting and not enough remembering that this educational endeavor should be all about the students. And you will not convince me that “work to rule” is something to be lauded yet again as a political statement.

    I have a hard time taking your union seriously if all that it is doing with its contract demands is making “POLITICAL” statements.

  • Small Town Kid

    Cranky Teacher:

    I fully support teachers, especially Oakland teachers, getting paid more than they do. And I understand that the OEA was making a political statement.

    I do think that this political statement was spectacularly “tonedeaf” when the State government has its largest deficit in many years (if ever) and the country is going through a major recession. In fact, I think it’s counterproductive and gives more ammunition to the right-wing who want to destroy the teachers union.

    I can’t imagine that Oakland, or any other school district will give any raises this year – you’ll be lucky if you don’t have a pay cut.

    I also think the $77 million for consultants needs to be looked at very carefully – even understanding the federal mandates and restricted funds.

  • TheTruthHurts

    It is hard to take some things seriously. I heard there was rally to demand a fair contract. Then I read, the teacher’s “proposals” are POLITICAL STATEMENTS and not proposals at all.

    How exactly, are you to get a fair contract when you don’t deal in reality, but in political statements? Even if we think you’re underpaid, how are we to take you seriously when you complain your demand for 20% is not being honored? Katy, aren’t you taking furlough days? Cranky, do you spend as much time dealing in reality as is done protesting federal bailouts and asking for things you know you can’t get?

    I feel for teachers? I couldn’t do the job – wouldn’t even want to. Most teachers should be respected more, paid more. But, the actions of the last several days haven’t made me want to reach in my pocket at all. I have many relatives who were teachers. They got Cranky sometimes too. However, they didn’t lose touch with reality and did the best the could with what they were reasonably provided. It’d be great for once to have a conversation about what is reasonable instead of making Political Statements and wasting precious time and money.

  • cranky teacher

    Public School fan, you are the exception not the rule and you can say whatever you want about teachers.

    Harlemmoon and TheTruthHurts, you are just trolls working your conservative political agenda. Whatever.

  • cranky teacher

    Society pays one way or the other: Pay now or pay later through crime and prisons.

  • harlemmoon

    From profanity to name calling. Cranky, should we consider ourselves blessed that our students were not taught by you?

  • Teri

    I am a teacher in a different district south on 880 and a parent of 2 kids in OUSD (middle and elementary). I’d like to put the pay scale in perspective. I am a 20 year veteran teacher and I make significantly more (at least $10,000-$15,000 more) than a teacher at the top of the scale in OUSD.

    Katy, it would be great to get a comparison of OUSD salary, benefits, and class sizes compared to the other districts in Alameda County. Also, it would be great to know how many other districts are bargaining right now and where they are at. (My district, fortunately, is in year 2 of a 3-year contract.)

    I’d like to explain “work-to-rule” which is a bargaining strategy, but is a hard thing to follow when you are a teacher because “work-to-rule” does compromise our ability to do our job. But it is an important strategy for a variety of reasons. “Work-to-rule” is designed to heighten awareness of all that we do that goes uncompensated, including buying supplies for our classrooms, such as tissues, copy paper, and other essential as well as contacting and meeting with parents, filling out endless paperwork, recording grades, grading papers, attending seminars and classes, organizing field trips, and raising money to pay for them.

    “Work-to-rule” is also an important step in the bargaining process when bargaining has broken down. Teachers engage in this before taking the next big step which is a strike vote. We certainly don’t want our teachers to strike. Work-to-rule is designed to put pressure on the district to come back to the table with a reasonable offer.

    Katy, can you find out where in the process OUSD and OEA are at? Are they in mediation at this point?

    I do agree that asking for a 20% pay increase no longer is working as a political statement. On the other hand, what happens in collective bargaining is confidential and very behind-the-scenes by law, so we really don’t know what the bargaining team has offered as a counter-offer to the 3% pay cut. But I do believe OEA has offered a vision of what we all should want for our schools here and throughout the nation: small class sizes, professional pay, just compensation for expenses we incur as we do our jobs, etc. If we want a democratic and educated population, we must be willing to pay for it even when economic times are tough.

  • turner

    “If we want a democratic and educated population, we must be willing to pay for it even when economic times are tough.”

    How much is enough, Teri? We have been paying for it forever. K-12 takes 30% of the state budget. How much more should go to schools?

    And, when does it become unfair to keep taxing Californians? Why is it that when times are tough, we should increase taxes on people who have their own burdens to carry?

    Turner

  • cranky teacher

    Turner, education is 30% of the state budget because after Prop. 13 we stopped paying for pretty much everything else: Mental health system, mosquito abatement, you name it! Look at even our roads now — we didn’t have all these potholes when I was a kid!

    As for OUSD, you can talk about times being tough THIS YEAR, but teachers here are paid the same as they were TEN YEARS AGO.

  • Nextset

    From where I sit it appears that the US and the World is entering Great Depression II.

    That means that there will be no money to operate the public schools the way we have the last 45 years. And if you think that is painful, analyze what is happening to the hospitals & physicians and health care.

    Better start working on the Internet Schools. They are coming. Some kind of extraordinary change is coming.

    And I see the change arriving through the private schools & Charters first. But rapid change is coming. Very rapid.

    For all the upset about everybody’s budgets today, the forcasts are for radically worse economy 12 and 24 months off. The news just seems to be unavoidably grim. And the wars haven’t even started yet.

    Well, the sun will still rise tomorrow and we will just have to manage with the Changes. That’s life. But maybe you won’t be seeing universal free quality public education on the scale we had in the early sixties again in our lifetimes. Or maybe we will, just in a different context. In Internet schools, people who don’t do the work or participate, meet the deadlines, etc. won’t learn anything and complete the program. If you have to sit and pass citywide tests, and don’t show or score, you just flunk. Even with the cut budgets we can still educate – some people.

    Put it this way. If half of all the branch banks in CA were closed as redundant, would it make any difference to the customers? No it wouldn’t. Do we need to keep those branches open just so the tellers can have jobs? No we don’t. Tough times force change. The public schools are just another industry in search of protectionism. There doesn’t seem to be much of that left.

    Brave New World. It’s coming.

  • turner

    Cranky,
    We need to do business a different way. The status quo has been failing for a long time. We have all known it. We just don’t want to change it.

    There is only so much in taxes that the people can pay. There is only so much they should pay.

    Turner

  • cranky teacher

    In the East Coast the middle class still pays state taxes and the middle class still uses the public schools. By and large those things stopped being true with Prop. 13.

    The schools and many other institutions in California were the model for the nation before Prop. 13, when older whites decided they didn’t want to pay for “other people’s children.” Since then, we have been down in the bottom five in per student spending in the nation.

    That was more than 30 years ago. That’s the status quo you’re talking about.

    The schools weren’t perfect before and money is not a cure-all, but you need to know you’re history if you want to talk about the status quo.

    We have starved the horse, then beat it because it couldn’t pull the plow anymore, and now you want to shoot the horse.

  • turner

    The status quo is much bigger than Prop 13. That is one of the problems. But, it isn’t the only one. I know my history. Do you know yours?

    No one is asking for perfect schools. We’re just asking for better schools. There are districts with better schools in our state, in our county. Why can’t we have the same in OUSD? And why can’t we do it without increasing the people’s tax burden?

    Turner

  • cranky teacher

    Here’s three: Poverty, crime and a history of corrupt and/or poor management.

  • turner

    There you have it!
    What can we do to change?

  • Nextset

    Cranky: Perhaps in the other states they didn’t have a 3rd world invasion, and public schools who teach their students to hate America, hate Western Culture and hate Western Civilization. So in other states the upper classes didn’t mind funding public education.

    Here the leftists have taken the public schools so far away from the upper classes the public schools are no longer identified with the taxpayers but instead the welfare parasites and criminal classes. Too Bad, So Sad. It should not be that way.

    So the voters now will give the public schools the back of their hand. No more funding.

    Brave New World. The sorting continues. I don’t know how this process can be stopped.

  • Teri

    Nextset, you say, “Perhaps in the other states they didn’t have a 3rd world invasion, and public schools who teach their students to hate America, hate Western Culture and hate Western Civilization. So in other states the upper classes didn’t mind funding public education.”

    Gosh, as a history and literature teacher, I really don’t know what you’re talking about. We use textbooks that are used in Texas, for god’s sake. How hateful of American can they be? Our standards don’t teach hatred of American or Western civilization either. Broad generalizations that cast aspersions like that don’t really further the debate. I think there are many complex reasons why California has sunk so low, but I don’t believe it has to do with a curriculum that is anti-American or anti-Western civ. (And the last I heard, much of the so-called canon of lit classes at the high school level still include Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and The Catcher in the Rye, among others. That they’ve added Chinua Achebe or Toni Morrison or others is not a condemnation of the West.)

    From my vantage point as a teacher, a parent, a taxpayer, I believe that people often want it all but don’t want to pay for it. The anti-tax movement in CA was (and still is) able to define the debate. The fact that people see taxes as a burden from which they need relief says so much. Instead, I prefer to see taxes as an investment in our future. I want a well-educated population of citizens and residents who have a healthy understanding of democracy and the importance of our constitution, who will find fulfilling careers in areas we can’t even imagine yet, and who will be able to provide essential services to society in the future. I am willing to pay a lot for that. I believe that pre-K to 16 education is the most important and health care is next most important. We will see a rise in crime and desperation if we allow our public school system to fail even more.

    And as for my federal taxes, I wish I could earmark my money away from the Pentagon and for education and health care and other social services.

    A nation that so cavalierly gives up on its children will not have a future that is bright and vibrant.

  • turner

    Teri,
    Education is important, I agree.
    But, let’s not discount security. We live in a safe and secure country because of the work that is done undercover at the Pentagon and its related branches. Just as we should be proud of our teachers, we should also be proud of the work that the security community does for our country.

    All you need to do is go live in a third world country and you will see the fear that the citizenry lives in.

    As for taxes, how much is enough? 20%? 30%? 90%?

    Turner

  • Nextset

    Teri: My appraisal of what is and has recently been taught in the public schools comes from interaction with it’s products. The slur stands. Unfortunately.

    And the public schools will not escape “broad generalizations”. In legal terms, that’s known as your reputation.

    And we’re not giving up on the younger generations. We are sending the people that count into the private schools. They are the future, not the public school kids. The public school kids of CA were once the future of this nation and state, not anymore.

    I’m afraid that Public Schools systems such as OUSD and Los Angeles Unified are producing a huge number of permanent underclass (and by producing I include all the dropouts flushed into the gutters of society by the districts prior to them turning age 18).

    I know that LAUSD and OUSD students will become professionals – just not so many of them. And I know that LAUSD and OUSD students will become convicts – a relatively large percentage of them.

    I think it’s wrong that a bright student of whatever color has to a large degree their fate cut out for them depending on going to OUSD or LAUSD vs Piedmont USD (a public “Ivy” High School) or a private school such as O’Dowd. Of Course if the child were in San Francisco, Lowell High School would be a possibility. OUSD choses not to run a Lowell type school for fear it would be excessively Asian like Lowell.

    It’s wrong to lock in generations of bright public school students into a future determined by whether their mother lived in Oakland or San Francisco. We should offer a chance to go to a (“Real School”) competitive school in a large district such as OUSD and in LA USD.

    Schools where the children don’t cut classes to demonstrate for the (usually black) criminal of the month. Schools where the city is proud of their graduates, willing to hire them and willing to support the schools with tax measures.

    Teri: We have different experiences. In my case I worked in Downtown Oakland for a large company with hundreds of workers back in the early 1970′s. I was told they didn’t hire OUSD products – and that was then. The people I met at that employer were all East Bay people but products of other schools. I don’t think this syndrome is exactly new in 2009. I am afraid that OUSD students are not competitive in the job market at 18 and at age 21. I’m afraid that they are being marginalized in the job (marriage?) market.

    I’m afraid that we are heading for a generational rigid class structure here where the lower class can’t even speak the same conversational english – or write a business letter. And fairly or not I blame OUSD for the state of the Oakland kids. And info on what the district is doing to help it’s products gain traction in the local economy would give me pause. All the feedback I get from the Oakland business owners and Operators I run into is that OUSD products are not desirable.

    So pay cuts for the OUSD teschers doesn’t seem a problem to me. It’s not a matter of paying them more and hoping to attract magical teachers. It’s a matter of crashing OUSD and forcing it’s operators to realize that what they are doing with their students is futile and must change.

  • Nextset

    typo in last paragraph. It’s late, night all..