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Oakland teacher strike participation: 91%

picket line at Skyline High SchoolI’m no longer at the big, musical rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza, but union leaders there have reported that 91 percent of the district’s teachers participated in today’s strike.

The CTA says the rally drew nearly 2,000 people. That number seems a bit high to me, but I’m not very good at crowd estimates. In any event, there were lots of teachers, students and parents there.

Still waiting on student attendance stats. If they reflect the numbers at Skyline (about 60-65, according to my head count this morning), McClymonds, Oakland Tech (a grand total of 12 kids, according to teacher David de Leeuw) and Futures Academy, the elementary school I toured this morning, it will be extremely low.

Troy Flint, the district spokesman, said he won’t have today’s attendance rate until tomorrow, but that it was well below 50 percent.

By the way, Flint said Adrian Kirk, the director of the Family and Community Office was at Lazear Elementary today and that Kirk was adamant that no one was turned away.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • J.R.

    Union,
    The taxpayers, parents are beginning to take matters into their own hands since the teachers unions will not(SB955)will eliminate seniority for purposes of transfers and layoffs, and will make it easier to dismiss bad teachers. This is only the beginning, hang on because it’s going to be a rough ride.

  • J.R.

    OEA does not hire or fire. OUSD hired the Teacher.
    Maybe, you should direct your anger at them?

    Harold, that excuse will not wash any longer, we all know that the unions have set strict guidelines and procedures for hiring and firing, and they protect these deficient teachers with a death grip, because that is how unions survive. Firing teachers is a long arduous expensive proposition, but the kids still pay the highest price of all.

  • Union Supporter-But

    I bring this issue to the forefront for three reasons:

    1. Teachers are being forced to have additional prep time, having to put off other, more in depth lessons that are not “fill in the bubble” learning to cover two years of material of what will be built on in the future and requires mastery in elementary school so that students will be prepared for 8th grade algebra – which I believe is developmentally appropriate if we have all done our job prior to eighth grade.

    2. Students are not getting their educational needs met in their grade level.

    3. Parents are sending recording devices in the classroom to prove their cases. This is the way of video taping and invasion in my classroom that I do not want because it can easily be taken out of context. Any other teacher, student, administrator or expected guest is welcome to come into my classroom. However, I do not feel comfortable having a 6 hour recorder on at all times.

    Our school administration and NeXO are attempting to deal with the situation in what I feel is a fair and respectful manner. Supply subs and money that could be used elsewhere – and with no refunds, the money to date has been wasted. We need to deal with this or we will have cameras and recorders in our classroom for evidence and we will be able to do nothing about it. Parent will “protect” their children and their children’s “right to a full education.”

    We need to decide going forward and everyone needs to have a voice that is heard. In our meetings when we choose to drown out words we do not want to hear, it will come back to haunt us. In our school, it already has.

  • cranky teacher

    J.R.,

    Your frustration is understandable but I still don’t understand why your view is so one-sided.

    The way I see it, over the decades the districts across America granted seniority and job security to teachers because they could not/would not offer them salaries commensurate with other careers demanding a BA (plus a teaching credential).

    The districts agreed to evaluation systems which they are incapable of carrying out at all but the most smooth-running sites.

    I would hazard to guess that even if the unions traded job security for some cash, you’d see a lot less change that you are hoping for — because there IS a teacher shortage (especially for certain types of teachers), Oakland IS a tough place to teach and the districts would still have to be careful not to engender age-discrimination suits if they start scything down all the better-paid older teachers.

    Again, I come back to this: Knowing teachers who “everybody” says is terrible who have not been evaluated in five, six, seven years! Whether or not the rumors are true about these particular teachers, just the fact that they are not reviewed by superiors shows an incompetent administration and/or a completely broken system.

    Is your response that they don’t evaluate because it is too hard to fire people anyway?

  • L.K.

    JR, I hate to break it to you, but there is not any army of bad teachers out there that need to be fired. Yes, there are a few here and there, but that is not the problem with education today. The main problem is years and years of under funding especially at schools of high need. There is gross inequity in school funding. Blaming teachers is sort of like blaming the firemen because there are buildings burning down. Firing teachers is not impossible. It’s just not an administrative priority.

  • Union Supporter-But

    I think we are missing the point. I did not say there are an army of bad teachers, what I said is in our schools, our union meetings and even on this blog, if there is something unpopular said, or if a problem is admitted, even when evidence is produced (such as at our school), we simply choose to squelch that information in favor of the overall “good.”

    I know for example that is what the school board did with two board members who did not initially want Tony Smith – they held the entire board inside until they had the unanimous vote they felt they needed.

    We do the same thing – we do not allow for any voices outside our one voice.

  • J.R.

    The education system is bad and unsustainable for these reasons:

    1. The educational system is too bureaucratic, top heavy and redundant(at the federal,state,county and local level), the goal should be teaching the youth “not” an employment agency or political action group.

    2. The mechanisms by which the state funds education are inadequate and are inherently unstable(if we ever get out of this mess we need to construct a new way of funding education that will not be subject to boom\bust cycles.

    3. The fabric of society is frayed(divorce,homelessness,parent or parents raising kids and cannot even raise themselves). Kids don’t have stability in their lives and that makes them unable to focus which makes them difficult to teach.

    4. Teachers are underpaid “BUT” as long as “unfit” teachers(not the majority) are protected by unions, taxpayers will not be so compassionate to the teachers plight.

    Trust goes both ways, we trust you to teach our kids(to the best of your ability)and we hope that they won’t be subjected to a teacher who is merely killing time(along with the children’s valuable educational outlook. That is what is so draconian about teacher salary schedules, you don’t get paid more for being better(or getting better results over time), just for staying longer. Thats it.

  • J.R.

    LK,
    BTW, you’re not breaking anything to me that I don’t already know.