Part of the Bay Area News Group

Elementary school to join Occupy Oakland strike

By Katy Murphy
Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 5:51 pm in families, strike, students.

The staff at Bridges Academy at Melrose sent a bilingual flier home to families, inviting them to join them in Wednesday’s general strike in support of Occupy Oakland — and informing them that teachers would not be in their classrooms that day.

They’re meeting at the East Oakland elementary school in the morning and traveling to Oakland City Hall together, by BART.

“We, the teachers at Bridges, are joining the Occupy Oakland protest on Wednesday, November 2. We will not be in our classrooms that day, all day,” the flier says. “We are the 99%!!”

Are the teachers at your school thinking about joining the strike?

Strike flier

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Turanga_teach

    Ironically enough, I received the email message about the imminent demise of 45 days worth of emails.

    And I’m genuinely not sure how “off topic” this is: as teachers, we’re working under conditions that would be considered comical or abhorrent in the business world. The IT teams of any decent for-profit organization in the nation would never be facing something like this–would have solved the initial rumblings of this current volcanic event months ago. Because they would have been equipped to. Because they are able to prioritize a functioning technological network as a key part of company success. Because the entire world buys the idea that it’s worth spending money to keep the best and brightest working there, with the tools that they need.

    Here in the trenches of public education, we face a different and much more strained reality. We’re up against ever-increasing budget cuts and the mantra (the understandable and laudable mantra) that this pain needs to be kept as far as possible away from the classroom, the kids. But the working conditions of Oakland’s educators are the learning conditions of Oakland’s children–it’s simply not possible to buffer all the pain.

    My friend the school psychologist spent much of her night last night scrambling to save the crucial contacts she’s made with families, teachers, and agencies over the past month and a half. I stumbled on the email at 10:00 last night when I was checking my work email as a break from my, er, work. I facebooked about it and discovered that many of my colleagues had no idea this was happening.

    And at the end of the day…all of us are kind of shrugging. Because what would be seen as an intolerable, heads-will-roll scenario in corporate America is just another little inconvenience in the death-by-papercut reality of public education right now.

    THAT is why we’re angry. That is why we Occupy.

  • J.R.

    The small business owners and normal blue collar folk that work for them are sure feeling your SOLIDARITY.

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katehicks/2011/11/01/collateral_damage_ows_forces_cafe_to_fire_workers

    Too bad the unions can’t(won’t) call in some -substitute- patrons.

    I bet those workers are angry too!

  • J.R.

    The education system has been experiencing death by papercut(go through the motions underperformance) for decades, why did it take you so long to notice? There 9is nothing like accountability and the loss of money to wake people up. The cafe workers know all about accountability, and the price that is paid for not doing your job(immediate termination). They now know something else, their job is not a right, it is dependent upon other peoples money to exist and survive.

  • http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us Troy Flint

    In response to the questions about OUSD email: Only the 300 or so OUSD employees who have been without email continuously for the past five days are in danger of losing messages received after September 16 if they fail to archive those messages by noon on November 2. This group is comprised overwhelmingly of those in the “heaviest user” category, primarily principals and high-ranking central office staff.

    I apologize for not making this point more clearly in my autodialer message and for causing undue alarm. That said, it is a good practice to regularly archive emails as the problems may not be isolated in the future and storing emails in this way will preserve access to important messages.

    You can find step-by-step instructions on archiving here: http://tinyurl.com/42zvppm

    The link is also reachable by following: OUSD Homepage (www.ousd.k12.ca.us) > Departments > Information & Technology Services.

  • http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us Troy Flint

    A small addendum to the last point: I would distribute the previous message Districtwide via email to resolve confusion, but I do not have access to my account either.

  • http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us Troy Flint

    Also, for those who are unsure whether they are affected by the email reset, here is a link to those affected: http://tinyurl.com/3d283r7

  • http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us Troy Flint

    Actually, this is the link to the page which contains the spreadsheet:

    http://publicportal.ousd.k12.ca.us/19941081118633307/sitedefault.asp

  • Oakland Teacher

    #48 “Oakland Teacher” is not the same as the usual Oakland Teacher who posts regularly. Hopefully people recognize that your angry tone is not usual for my postings.

    Can’t you think of something to identify yourself as a different person?

    Katy – do you have any way from keeping people from using the same names as are regularly used?

    How about if I start using some of the teacher hater pen names and writing all kinds of loving thoughts? Hmmm… maybe not a bad idea!

  • Turanga_teach

    With respect, Mr. Flint, I’d like to check to see if I understand the situation correctly.

    The clarification which was just put out to all district employees (via a phone call made to all teachers during instructional hours) notes that the ONLY individuals who, er, need to get into their email and archive things before they get destroyed are those who are currently definitionally UNABLE to get into their email and do anything.

    Stuff like this, for the record, makes it exceptionally hard for folks like me to counter the perception of Oakland Unified School District as a place where some very weird stuff goes down.

  • Katy Murphy

    The system isn’t set up for that, I’m afraid. You could always use your real name, or create a more unique handle.

  • Turanga_teach

    And ps that URL links to a page which no longer exists.

  • OUSDEmailisCrazyStuff

    Hey Troy:

    I never got any call or information to back up my email and wouldn’t it have made a LOT more sense to have asked people to do this before whatever tech work was done this past weekend? I am one of the 350 (as well as one of the 99%!) and I’m SO annoyed. I just can’t believe that I was told I’m going to lose hundreds of messages because I didn’t have Outlook on my computer. Why couldn’t we have been informed before this past weekend…?

    As far as the protest, I’m someone who went to work today, but joined up with the Occupy Oakland this evening around 5:00 p.m. It’s definitely begin to take shape. I’m hopeful that it will last past these festivities and the soon-to-be-coming rain and colder temps, especially at night. This thing might have legs, and if it can effect change in the OUSD; that would be pretty amazing.

    (Still ticked off as hell about the email. What an unnecesary nightmare that could have been avoided with a little forward thinking. For the record, I never got a phone call from Troy Flint (though I have gotten those robocalls in the past, about things like flu shots). Just really wonder what is going on with you guys!

  • Yasmin Anwar

    I was proud to see on the news the OEA contingent out in force at Wednesday’s Occupy Oakland event, and sorely regret not being there to join the chorus for more money for teachers, classrooms and our kids’ education. My second-grader was among the few to stay at school, and watched a couple of movies. In retrospect, he would have learned a lot more at the march.

  • http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us Troy Flint

    Not the weightiest topic addressed on this blog, but since it does speak to larger systemic problems in OUSD, a few more points/response about the email outage:

    • “The clarification which was just put out to all district employees (via a phone call made to all teachers during instructional hours) notes that the ONLY individuals who, er, need to get into their email and archive things before they get destroyed are those who are currently definitionally UNABLE to get into their email and do anything.”

    I want to re-emphasize that among 372 employees who have been without email since Friday – the employees who need to archive recent messages in order to save them – there are very few teachers. Those employees affected by the extended outage are high-volume users on a separate server and are primarily principals and central office employees.

    The list is here: http://publicportal.ousd.k12.ca.us/19941081118633307/site/default.asp

    And here: http://tinyurl.com/65wlvo8 (You may have to scroll down)

    The vast majority of these users have access to the desktop client version of Outlook – not just the webmail version which most teachers use. If you have the desktop client, you can perform the procedure necessary to archive your email, so these employees are not definitionally unable to do as Tech Services requested. If we were speaking primarily about teachers, it would be a different story.

    • “Stuff like this, for the record, makes it exceptionally hard for folks like me to counter the perception of Oakland Unified School District as a place where some very weird stuff goes down.”

    It makes it hard for me, too! A lot of strange developments take place at OUSD and I wouldn’t even try to deny that. I do think we are starting to address in, belatedly, some of the systemic failings that hinder performance and create those bizarre “only in OUSD” scenarios.

    One of the hidden problems in the district is that we are trapped in some really troublesome legacy systems (student information, employee information, payroll, etc.) that we can’t afford to replace. This might seem like something that only matters to tunnel-vision central office employees but it really does have a tangible effect on our ability to serve school sites as well as students and families.

    Fortunately, where email is concerned, we have the option of migrating from our current, outdated, overtaxed Microsft servers to Gmail. This process has already begun in incremental fashion as we try to avoid further disruptions like the one of the past week, and should be complete by January. My understanding is that the server that went down this week has a 40 gig capacity but handles 250 gigs today and that’s with much lower than normal email traffic than normal because of the outage and uncertainty over whether people are actually receiving mail. (I think I got that right).

    We do have the option of accelerating the transition to Gmail, but it comes with an operational price. If we decide to go this route after discussing with school sites, I’ll expand on this tradeoff in another communication.

    Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Tech Services has been working around the clock since Saturday to correct this problem. On a couple occasions, they thought they might have found a less invasive solution to the problem, but that didn’t materialize.

    • “I never got any call or information to back up my email and wouldn’t it have made a LOT more sense to have asked people to do this before whatever tech work was done this past weekend? I am one of the 350 (as well as one of the 99%!) and I’m SO annoyed. I just can’t believe that I was told I’m going to lose hundreds of messages because I didn’t have Outlook on my computer. Why couldn’t we have been informed before this past weekend…?”

    I want to emphasize that this was not a planned outage. I acknowledge that it would have been beneficial to request that employees use good email practices like regular archiving (for those with desktop clients) and we could have provided more guidance in this area as a preventive measure. In reality, though, few people ever comply with these warnings until there’s a disaster and there was no special indicator to suggest there would be a system failure last Friday night/Saturday morning. Incidentally, since people started archiving, the pressure released from our mail servers has improved system performance greatly.

    Finally, Tech Services has been working around the clock since Saturday to correct this problem. On a couple occasions, they thought they might have found a less invasive way to fix the problem, but that didn’t materialize. Part of the reason this problem has persisted for a week is because this disruptive solution was a last resort.

    For those who are struggling to archive their email, Tech Services will be contacting you to walk you through the process. They’ve already done this for 70 percent of affected employees and expect to reach everyone by Monday at the latest

    • “For the record, I never got a phone call from Troy Flint (though I have gotten those robocalls in the past, about things like flu shots)”

    Autodialer messages are not sent through a manual process, so any variance is usually attributable to having the wrong number in the database, whether because of bad data entry at the information systems level or the recipient changing their primary number.

    When I send an autodialer message via our SchoolMessenger tool, it calls the number listed as the primary contact number for each OUSD employee or family in our database systems. Schoolmessenger automatically updates by pulling data from these systems at the end of each day.

    If you’re sure that there is no missed call in your log from 510.879.8242, please email me at troy.flint@ousd.k12.ca.us and we’ll search the database to make sure the correct number is on file.

  • OEA must denounce flyer

    The teachers’ actions were irresponsible at best.

    To encourage parents and families to go was dangerously irresponsible.

    Why?

    Teachers wrote this on the flyer:

    “Because of the violent and unprovoked crackdown against the peaceful protest on Tuesday, October 25, Oakland has garnered worldwide publicity and attention.”

    Think about this. The TEACHERS are saying they are responding to a crackdown. There was violence. So why on earth would you do anything to bring kids into a potentially dangerous situation. They don’t say, leave your kids at school and be back in time to pick them up. They ask parents to join them and it is …”all day”. When parents are there ALL DAY, guess who has to be with them. Kids. Thankfully there was no violence during the day, but they couldn’t have known that. And worse, they probably didn’t consider it.

    Further, why did they do it… “Oakland has garnered worldwide publicity and attention.”

    I don’t want worldwide publicity and attention, I want my kid to learn math every day. And don’t give me the crap about substitutes.

    These teachers are an irresponsible joke. They put their ideology before their students well-being and they hide behind their contract to do it. Worse, they give the excuse that “other unions are going”.

    Anybody remember the logic mom had, “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you do it to.” I don’t care if some other union is doing it. Educate the kid. Were the teachers involved in blocking the port so the union truckers couldnt leave? Selective affiliation.

    This is what happens when your teachers are not aligned with the culture of the communities.

    Are there any schools where EVERY teacher and the principal showed up to work on Wednesday. Just a question. Call the roll.

    We don’t want our kids to be hippies. If you take a personal day, don’t promote for parents and kids to do the same thing…not all of us can afford to leave out 99% jobs for a day.

    But regardless how I think of the teachers joinng the strike. My main point is this:

    If an OUSD child had gotten hurt, trampled, molested, run-over, or just been in the wrong place at the wrong time when they should have been in school – the teachers irresponsibility would have been publicized.
    Thank God it didn’t happen. The teachers breached the public trust with their actions to keep child safety first on all their actions as agents of the district. This flyer breached that trust.

    Who authorized them to put out a flyer? Can teachers do this when it potentially endangers children? They state in their flyer that there was a previous violent crackdown and encourage the parents to join them! Unbelievable. Are they over 21? Do they have kids of their own?

    Do what you want, but trying to bring in (manipulate) kids and families for your cause and ideology is intolerable.

    If you want to teach students a lesson – be in the classroom. You can’t have it both ways.

    Tony Smith, where are you?

    I have supported OEA in the past, but this is a joke. OEA should publicly condemn this flyer and the teachers’ actions. OEA must denounce this act as misguided and inappropriate in the service of children. OEA must publicly state (forum, blog, press release, SOMETHING) that their joining other unions for a day of action should never include placing children in potentially dangerous situations away from school. Without a strong response, they will have lost all credibility. Absolutely all and the organization should be ignored going forward on all matters relating to children. They will have forfeited their right to speak for our children.

    This is that serious. Don’t wait for our children to get trampled to death before we protect them from irresponsible adults who would have them join potentially dangerous situations.

    And if they say “we weren’t asking kids, only parents to join us” we will know that they are trying to double-talk us. Kids go with parents, especially when it’s ALL DAY.

    Waiting for OEA response.

  • OEA must denounce flyer

    Teacher flyer says:

    “PARENTS!!! …
    PLEASE JOIN US…!!!
    We will not be in our classrooms that day, all day.”

    Statement of OEA Executive Board:
    “- Because of the violent and unprovoked crackdown against the peaceful protest on Tuesday, October 25, Oakland has garnered worldwide publicity and attention. Oakland educators need to be seen on the frontlines of the fight…”

    They are putting our kids at risk because these “Oakland educators need to be seen…”

    Need to be seen? Just think about that. For that you encourage parents to be downtown “all day”

    You should have clearly said the children should stay somewhere safe because we don’t want to put them in a potentially dangerous situation. Instead, the kids make good photographs in your attempts to “be seen on the frontlines.”

    I’m sick to my stomach. Protest all you want. But you do anything that puts kids at risk, you are an enemy. I don’t care what % of the population you are.

    Here’s a more appropriate flyer:
    “Parents we are going to be joining the protest and will be out on Wednesday. Please feel free to join us, but remember that there have been violent crackdowns. To ensure your kids are safe, the district will staff every classroom with a substitute while we are out. If you do decide to protest with us, please be sure to pick up your children from school by 3pm.”

    The BEST flyer would have been none at all. Take your personal day. It’s not our business what you do on your personal time. Don’t try to suck us into your belief. Manipulation, even in the name of idealism, is still manipulation.

    When we want to know why you’re out… we don’t have a right to know. When we DON’T want to know why you’re out, you pass out flyers.

    Tony Smith, where are you?

    Waiting for OEA response.

  • Turanga_teach

    Don’t believe the hype. The Oakland children attending the protest (with full PARENT, not teacher, consent and supervision) were safer marching to the port than walking home from school. Police crackdowns happen, yes, but 99.9% of the thousands of people participating in the General Strike were absolutely adamant about avoiding the behaviors that can lead to them. And they tend to happen in the wee hours of night, after people smash things.

    The difference between what actually happened and how you’re painting it here is literally the difference between night and day.

  • OEA must denounce flyer

    1. OEA Executive Board said the protests had been the scene of a previous “violent and unprovoked crackdown”.

    That’s their language, not mine.

    2. The teachers at a school took personal days to join the protest and encouraged parents to come join them.

    “Parents!!! Please Join Us!!”

    That’s the first thing their flyer says. This is not conjecture.

    3. Teachers informed parents they will be there “all day”. The flyer neither advises them to keep their kids away from the scene of potential danger or recommends a time to leave the protest (ie in time for school to pickup kids).

    That’s a fact

    4. The teachers sent the flyers home with kids. This means their poor decision happened while they were still on the OUSD clock and dime. Teachers, as long as they are on the OUSD clock, have a duty to protect the safety of children and in no way endanger them. They must act in loco parentis. In other words, they are the kids’ parents until they get to their parents or go somewhere off course on the way home.

    They failed in their duty. They knowingly encouraged children to be put at risk. They did it on the company dime.

    Where is Tony Smith?

    The reason OEA wont say anything here is because they hope it just goes away. It won’t.

    Because these flyers went out, the principal is responsible and should be immediately terminated for cause.

    Where is Tony Smith?

    Somebody will be held to account for this. OEA must denounce this flyer and the direct or indirect encouragement of children to be put at potential risk. Forget everything else. If they think they have enemies now, wait until certain organizations and news outlets get wind of this. And they will. I will see to it.

    And hey, the protests were peaceful… until they were no longer peaceful.

    “99.9% of the thousands of people participating in the General Strike were absolutely adamant about avoiding the behaviors that can lead to them. ”

    These teachers encourage actions which led to children being exposed to the other .01% That’s the problem. That’s irresponsible. That’s dereliction of duty.

    Thank God, no children got hurt. But wait, what if someone’s child WAS hurt, trampled, or touched…. and what if the parents soon realize, “Hey, the teacher encouraged us to go. I thought it was a school sanctioned event…. the flyer went out during school time.”

    You need to step back and look at this clearly.

    Nowhere on the flyer does it distinguish between individual teacher initiative and school initiative. Therefore, given the FACT that it went home with children… it is a school sanctioned flyer until stated otherwise.

    The principal must be terminated for allowing the distribution of material that potentially endangered children. The district will likely investigate to see if the teachers were disciplined and if a corrective memo went out. But the teachers are too smart for that. They likely wont cop to anything… very 1%ish The principal is on an island and has to go.

    Where is Tony Smith?

    The OEA has to speak out on this flyer because this wont go away. I will see to it, and not just on this blog.

    Put our kids at risk, intended or not, and you have to go.

    That’s not hype

    Personal Days should be personal, teachers, not a chance for you to flaunt your ideology in a way that puts kid at risk.

    You don’t need racist people to produce entitled, racist, or dangerous results for kids. We don’t have time for these 20something year old teachers to grow up.

  • OEA must denounce flyer

    Why would OUSD teachers encourage kids and parents to go to protests that had been the scene of earlier violent crackdowns

    1. Because they know what’s best for your children
    2. Cool way to show the administrations impotence
    3. Kids with signs take great pictures
    4. Because their ideology should be your ideology
    5. They’re paid for the day, all else is irrelevent
    6. Kids never get hurt or touched in big crowds!
    7. Kids haven’t had a good protest since closure debate
    8. They think OEA and OUSD support them
    9. Powerless people follow anybody, even young teachers
    10. Nothin better to do.
    11. Tony Smith can’t tell me what to do.
    12. We’ve got a 773 API score and we’re not on the stupid School Closure List, they can’t tell us a thing!

    Wait, what if they were put on next year’s Sch… oh, nevermind

  • Livegreen

    Turanga, Even the pieceful protests were against the law because they didn’t get permission or pay for permit fees. This is important both to pay for the [poor] City’s costs and because the City can’t make exceptions to the law only for groups it agrees with politically. Laws are equal for everyone and the City is opening itself up for groups it disagrees with to have the same, unpermitted rights. I sure hope some idiot gun nuts or right wing zealots don’t try the same thing).

    Back to the permits, the Unions and others rightfully supporting the 99% should chip in and help pay the permit fees so taxpayers aren’t the only ones picking up the tab.

  • OEA must denounce flyer

    @Turanga:
    This flyer appears to be school sanctioned. Kids are given tons of flyers to take home. We, parents, assume they come from the teacher and approved by the school.

    There is NOTHING about this flyer that suggests it is not school approved.

    Saying “We will not be in our classrooms all day” is not the same as saying we will not be acting as representatives of the district. This flyer was given to students in the classroom, by on-the-clock employees, right along with graded homework and progress report.

    This was deceptive, irresponsible, and a gross violation of the public trust.

    They even went so far as to tell the parents to MEET them in front of the school at 8:45am!!

    This next statement by Turango is an incredible example of naivete, elitism, duplicity, and entitled snobbery.

    >>The Oakland children attending the protest (with fusll PARENT, not teacher, consent and supervision) were safer marching to the port than walking home from school.<<

  • Oea Must Denounce Flyer

    someone recently died near the Occupy camp.

    I wonder if the teachers at Melrose still think it is a good idea to encourage parents and children to be there “All Day” in solidarity.

    Their poor judgment becomes more evident as the days go on.

    I’m assuming the OEA will not denounce the actions or flyer distributed by the teachers? I wonder about CTA and the dept of ed. May need to give them a call.

    This goes to the heart of what is wrong with our schools. Kids are not put first. Ideology and personal agenda are put before kids safety and education. Poor people and their kids are being used as pawns by teachers, principals, officials, and unions.

    Anybody who thinks these teachers at Bridges Academy were justified to pass out flyers on school time to encourage parents and kids to Occupy Oakland – has truly lost perspective.

    Nobody has been held accountable. Teachers still got paid, union made it’s soap-box statement, principal still in place. No sanctions, no firings. Business as usual.