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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

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  • Mario

    And once again these part time revolutionaries know more righteous for kids than their parents? Are you serious? Part of the 99%? These teachers do not recognize that immigrants do not participate in this movement of cyoung communists, old a** hippies, and trust funders trying to find themselves because they are to busy taking the jobs they do not want.

    GENTE>>>>> Loomat the values your kids are learning. Is this ok.. colectando limosnas? Son sucios sin morales y pasaran el ejemplo a sus hijos. Esto es lo que hacen en escuales del distrito. They will choose to keep your families in ghettos while they have their trust funds! Daddy….expect them to call for more money soon while they fight the system…..eventually they’ll wear suit and ties like you though.

    Anyway-I though theyr’re job was to teach. OUSD will lose money the so deperately need with encouraged absences. Unless of course, they count this as educational? And why is OUSD irrelevant again? I guess this is another charter school conspiracy too right?

  • Trish Gorham

    Statement by Betty Olson-Jones:

    In a unanimous vote on 10/28/11, the OEA Executive Board endorsed Occupy Oakland’s November 2 “General Strike/Mass Day of Action” and is urging members to participate in a variety of ways, including taking personal leave to join actions at Frank Ogawa Plaza, doing informational picketing at school sites, and holding teach-ins on the history of general strikes and organizing for economic justice.

    Faced with growing class sizes and dwindling resources, school closures, and the ongoing attempts of charter management companies to entice Oakland schools to convert to charters, it is critical that we link our struggles with those of the 99% of Americans fighting for social and economic justice. It is simply wrong that banks and corporations are bailed out and continue to reap huge profits, while schools and social services suffer.

    Join us on November 2nd, in solidarity with Occupy Movements across the globe!

    WE ARE THE 99%!

    Betty Olson-Jones
    OEA President

  • Trish Gorham

    Statement of OEA Executive Board:

    WHY THE OEA SUPPORTS OCCUPY OAKLAND’S MASS DAY OF ACTION/GENERAL STRIKE*

    - Occupy Oakland and the Worldwide Occupy Movement are fighting for full funding for all social services, including public schools.

    - Many of our members have been actively participating in the Occupy Oakland movement, and at least 3 were injured in the October 25 crack-down, along with a number of other union activists.

    - On Wednesday, October 26 the OUSD School Board voted to shutter 5 schools in Oakland. Unless we build a movement to demand that the top 1% pay their fair share, more school closures will follow.

    - The Alameda Central Labor Council, which represents unions from all over Oakland, including the OEA, has voted to endorse Occupy Oakland.

    - Occupy Oakland is a model of democracy in action where everyone is free to express their view and where everyone has one vote regardless of wealth or influence.

    - 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 for progressive taxation and full funding for public schools and other public services.

    * Wednesday’s action is not an OEA-sanctioned strike against OUSD

  • OUSD Parent

    Wednesday’s are a minimum day throughout OUSD. Why can’t the children go to school as usual and then the teachers, and any others (parents/students/staff), can join the protesters in the early afternoon? I’m all for the Occupy movement, but I don’t think that young kids need to be pulled into it on the front lines. The kids can learn about it at school. I talk to my kids about social and economic justice on a regular basis. We’re living it here in Oakland and our kids are the ones who are suffering. So, yes, I support the cause. I would also support a teach-in which delves into the current issues in depth. But I don’t support taking the kids out of school on Wednesday.

  • andrea

    Si unos sabelotodos prestaron mas atención cuando tuvieron la oportunidad de estudiar, quizás sabrán escribir una oración completa y comprensible en ingles o español o…imagínalo…en los dos idiomas.

    Referente a sus comentarios, le invito ir a Bridges. Ahí se puede aprender un poco de que es comunidad y como una comunidad diversa, con “young communists, old ass hippies” y inmigrantes, trabaja colectivamente por el bienestar de nuestros hijos. Venga a conocer, pero prepárese.

  • Luv To Teach In Oakland

    OUSD Parent:

    Wednesdays are no longer a minimum day throughout Oakland. Yes, for some schools minimum day is still Wednesday but the minimum day varies from school to school. That aside, I think that it is irresponsible for the teachers at Bridges to abandon their students that day. Will there be substitute teachers? It just doesn’t sound right. And what do they mean by “General Strike In Oakland?”

  • Marcel

    If you don’t want you or your child to participate in the rally then just go about your normal daily activities, substitutes will be in the classroom to teach your children. Don’t criticize teachers for standing up for what they believe in, Solidarity in the General Strike!!!

  • OUSD Parent

    @Marcel. I’m NOT criticizing teachers for participating. I just think the kids are better off in the classroom and it wasn’t clear that there would be subs. That’s all.

  • CogInTheOUSDWheel

    I don’t really quite understand the “strike” part of General Strike in the context of strikes in general. We are told if we want to participate, to call for a sub. But this makes no sense; it’s not a sick day. Maybe it’s a personal day, but if you’re getting paid (as we would for sick or approved personal leave), then you’re really not on strike.

    That said, I completely support the Occupy movements around the world, including Oakland. I support the idea of a General Strike, but I would have liked a lot more advance notice; at least a month. I would want to prepare lesson plans that inform, not advocate, include the history of social change movements in this country and elsewhere, a chance to have an open house fo parents and families to ask questions, and so on. I don’t really think this General Strike has been well-planned or thought out; if there is not signficant participation throughout Oakland, by all kinds of workers, union or not, and the city is not shut down, then it’s just a pointless charade that will probably disurpt things just enough to annoy people and prove nothing and change nothing. Too bad, because a well-planned General Strike would be a terrific opportunity to educate and inform, and create (maybe) some real changes….

  • Trish Gorham

    @9
    No, the word strike is not being used in its most literal sense as regards teachers since you can take a personal day. (NOT a sick day, that would be fraudulent).

    And it was not the OEA that called for the day, but the general assembly of Occupy Oakland. Sometimes events overtake us and we must act accordingly.

    Consider November 2 as the anticipatory set that you can base future lessons on.

    No matter how large the participation, it will annoy people and it will not change anything EXCEPT the collective consciousness of the 99% to organize the continued growth of the movement.

    Do whatever you can.

  • Justone99percenter

    I will trying to help save our democracy and our country on November 2. Did you have something more important to do?

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    For better or worse, substitute teachers in the OUSD are also union members. There’s a standard fright lecture that goes like this: “If you work on a strike day, you’ll never work again.” That’s patently untrue, of course, but for the sake of clarity, I don’t think it’s wise to frame Wednesday in terms of a “strike day.”

    I absolutely support and admire the Occupy movement, and by the way, there are a number of local credit unions that are friendlier places for anybody’s money than B of A or Wells Fargo. Taking that step (and cutting up our credit cards) is probably one of the most meaningful gestures we can make at this point.

  • Not too happy teacher

    @2 “In a unanimous vote on 10/28/11, the OEA Executive Board endorsed Occupy Oakland’s November 2 “General Strike/Mass Day of Action”

    It was not close to an unanimous vote from the membership, also were we asked if our union dues could be used to place Porta Potties for the Occupy movement?

  • J.R.

    Not too happy,

    Hmmm, that’s very interesting. No doubt BJ has an interesting definition of unanimous. Thank you for the heads up on that. There is a saying(it’s an amplification and paraphrase of the Bible Matt 6:21)” To truly know where a persons heart and convictions are you need to know there place of residence and lifestyle”.

  • Katy Murphy

    I think “Not too happy teacher” was talking about two different groups — the elected OEA executive board, which has about 16 members, and the union membership, which includes more than 2,500 people.

  • J.R.

    Katie,
    Thanks, that clears it up, 16 members of a board(who do whatever it is that they do besides collect dues,political pandering,political lobbying)could very easily come to a unanimous decision.

  • J.R.

    edit: “their place of residence and lifestyle”.

  • Harold

    @#13 – Was there an (OEA) membership vote on Friday?

    Paying for porta-potties, is no big deal to this OEA member (is that really happening?).

    Continued donations to the Democrats is my problem. Obama has not done anything for us.

  • Sue

    Get ready for another blow OUSD! It only goes to show that OUSD does not hold the regins of the educational carriage in Oakland- the union does.

    The system is bount to implode with such decisions.

  • Sarah

    I too, as a former Oakland teacher and current community advocate, support the ideals of Occupy Wall Street/Oakland.

    However, Oakland kids already receive much less instructional time than they need to truly catch up academically, and ideological strikes during the school day are counter-productive to them in the long run.

    http://www.occupyoakland.org/2011/10/occupy-oakland-poster-for-nov-2-general-strike/

    There will be a “mass gathering” at 5:00, well after school gets out. Take your kids to that one.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Been away awhile and I must say I’m impressed. Leaving children at school to protest while their parents work for a living. Sheer Genius!

    At least this cause – to the extent it is defined as it was initially – is righteous. The 99% are waking up and struggling to find a way to wrestle back control of their country from the rich and powerful. Good luck!

    Today we reach 7 billion humans and we are a debtor nation of 300 million and our creditors have over 1 billion people and no debt. Care to ponder how that math works out in the end?

    Stopping the pillaging is a good start, but there is much more to do.

  • http://www.yeknomgod.com Brian Hogan

    To any who suggest this is a diversion from the instruction teachers are supposed to provide should do the following:
    1. Learn history
    2. Pay close attention to “democracy” and “protest”.
    3. Think about whether you’ve ever actually taught your children to stand up for themselves, or simply trained them to obey mindlessly. (This assumes you actually ‘parent’, as opposed to letting the educational institution do it for you).
    4. If you’re still confused, return to step 1.

  • http://occupystupidity.org Alan

    This is an outrage. Parent of these students should lodge a complaint with the board of education in those districts that allowed their teachers to be absent in order to go “protest”. Indirect indoctrination of kids into the Left-wing, socialist-union way of thinking. Instead of teaching the students about how the founding fathers intended this nation to be governed, they are teaching how to subvert the system and bring about change through “mob-rule”. Absolutely sickening.

  • Harold

    @Alan – yes, the Brits gave up the “colonies” without a fight … no protests back then (where did all these Tea Party folks get their inspiration from?). Just scream “socialism!”, pour another glass of (white) wine and complain at your TV.

  • Oakland Teacher

    Please be clear: Nov is not a strike day by OEA. Schools are open. The vast majority of teachers will be present. Some teachers will take a personal leave day as allowed (5 per year) as long as they have a sub available. Some teachers feel a strong commitment to advocate for social change, especially when it affects school funding/educational policy. Anyone who thinks that the fact that the richest in this country pay no taxes does NOT affect schools is fooling themselves.

    Some teachers will use Nov 2 as a teachable moment for their students. That doesn’t mean they are left wing or socialist. It means they are teaching kids awareness of current events, economics, history and hopefully getting kids excited about learning. I saw the same thing happen on 9/11 and when Bin Laden was killed and did not accuse those teachers of being right wing. Kids need to know what is going on in the world around them.

    I am hoping many teachers and OUSD families will come join their community after school or mid-day on Nov 2 for a rally and a barbecue at Frank Ogawa Plaza.

    btw – I know that some of those people on the executive board are some of the best teachers around. The same critical thinking that leads them to examine systems in the world helps them to teach their students to analyze the world and become active and enthusiastic learners. Considering the low turnout for all-district union votes, low response rates sit reps get from staff, and low involvement in the union in general, it is ironic that anyone would complain about the executive board – the board who volunteer hundreds of hours yearly on your behalf. Less that 25% of teachers came to the last vote taken. Not every decision can be made district wide; there must be a smaller body of people who regularly meet. And no, I am not on the e-board and never have been.

  • haleyxvader

    @Alan Apparently someone forgot their American History.

  • OUSD Parent

    Thank you OUSD Teacher. Beautifully said.

  • Tara

    Let the parents and Mario above watch the kids while the teachers are out saving their future. This is how we do it in America, if you don’t like it, fee free to go back where you came from. Your to dumb to know that these people are fighting to restore the American dream–the reason your as came here to begin with.

  • J.R.

    Tara,
    Hardworking parents who go out and actually produce goods services to earn a living to pay taxes are making it possible for these children to have a future. The “productive” taxpayer is the most vital link in this democratic chain(one of our big the problems is that even the unproductive fools get more of a voice than they should just by being loud). I do agree however that the wealthiest collectively do not pay enough “actual” taxes even though they control nearly all of the wealth. People generally come here in order to have a chance to provide a better life for themselves and their families, and they generally outwork those Americans who are on on public assistance of one type or another. it’s a shame that people can’t see the obvious.

  • J.R.

    oops multiple typos…….

  • Ann Ferrari

    Why can’t the strike/protest happen in Alamo or Danville, where the 1% actually live and it can actually affect them and make a statement? I can’t see how this will make a positive difference on Wednesday. Instead, it will be ruckus for the kids, and one less day of learning. Not to mention, loads of stress on those parents that are part of the 99% that need to go to work.

  • Parent stuck in OUSD

    #31

    I have to say I ponder this every time I see the protests here, Berkeley and in SF where the residents are generally in agreement with the message and end up feeling like, “Why are you taking out on me? I agree with you!”

    It should be in Sacramento and in Washington. Whatever the 1% gets away with, whatever bailout Wall St. has taken, the blood is on our leaders’ hands.

  • Katy Murphy

    I should have posted this earlier, but here is a page on the OEA website with links to a Q & A and lesson plan resources.

    I don’t know if this link will work, but it’s a spreadsheet of lesson plans for different grade-levels. (Scroll to the right for the links.) Would you consider using any of these?

  • TheRealIssue

    How much ADA money will OUSD go without when parents decide not to send their students to a school filled with guest teachers?

  • Oakland Teacher

    Thanks for posting that Katy. The spreadsheet and links on it open easily. I still am having difficulty getting anywhere with the OEA links.

    Re#31 – Wednesday will NOT be a day of no learning. It will not be a day of chaos for kids. Parents can still go to work. Calm down.

    I do see the idea of having the protests be where the 1% live though as being poetic justice. I would like to see the movement spread to those places, but that is NOT where the 99% are. Many of the protesters have been doing bank protests for over a year, some even getting arrested when they refused to leave.

  • Ann Ferrari

    Thanks, Oakland teacher, I am calm but also frustrated. We have one teacher at our site that gets very dramatic in these sitations (strikes), and gets not-so-nice with the other teachers and clerical staff when they try to downplay things so the kids can have as normal a day as possible. It’s just an ugly site for the students to witness. I wholeheartedly agree with #32 from Parent Stuck in Oakland.

  • Parent stuck in OUSD

    At #34

    None if the parents bring their child to school and they are counted as present in the morning. What happens after attendance is taken is up to the parent.

  • Andrea

    Tara;

    Your views speak alot! YUou see, though originally I though this might be an OK thing, your answer reveals the truth from the gut!

    Your people came here….Mario, assuming he is Latino, was already here. And with you you brought diseases such as small pox and white guilt.

    Go Occupy Orinda where your people are at, or Montclair where your children go.

    The nerve of your slant. It would be best if you went back to your cave in the Caucuses, or Scandanavia.

    KEEP YOUR KIDS IN SCHOOL> NO COMMUNISTS! Most Latins already pay the price for such collectivist information which is why we are here to do the work you refuse to do!

  • Katy Murphy

    I meant to reply earlier after reading Tara’s comment, but this response reminded me: Please keep your comments civil, folks, and focused on the issue at hand. No name calling or personal attacks.

  • J.R.

    Reminds me of a particular entrenched teacher with the same name. The parents just wish that she would put as much effort into teaching as she does into being a political activist.

  • Harold

    @38 – That’s a terrible thing to say (the racist stuff). Oakland belongs to all of us: white, black, Latin, Asian, or however you like to be identified. A movement without all of the working-class is idiotic. Solidarity!

  • Anonymously White

    Don’t you know it’s not “racist” when the target is white in Oakland? It’s called fair. We have two board members openly hostile toward white families (both have said they don’t care about the white families in Oakland schools). We have the outcry that the only “fair” thing to do would be to target so-called “White” schools with closures. It doesn’t seem to matter that white students in OUSD make up about 5% of the ENTIRE district and are a majority at just 5 or 6 schools out of 101.

    The hate is strong, in your face and ineffective.

  • Livegreen

    Not just the ADA money, but doesn’t it cost to have Sbstitutes teach? Also I don’t understand who this strike is against…the City of Oakland? Small business in Oakland?

    Besides the City, OUSD & small businesses losing money, Oakland is gaining a reputation that will actually make it harder to bring new business here. Thus it’s hurting BOTH current employment AND future employment.

    How does that help a just cause? Let’s picket the big banks. Let’s move our bank accounts. Let’s withdraw our savings from Wall Street. (I already have). But close down small business, shut down the Port, the City , and OUSD, & stop teaching kids?

    This is nuts.

  • Turanga_teach

    Teachers are entitled to use personal leave as they see fit with prior admin approval: the cost of substitutes is built into the reality of 5 days available per teacher per year. It wouldn’t be any more or less expensive if that sub day were to happen while that teacher’s at the beach. To me, it seems silly to criticize teachers for spending their personal leave time on making a contribution to the wider public discussion on issues of HUGE impact in the classroom setting.

    At my site, most of us are staying until the dismissal bell. All of us are committed to keeping Wednesday calm and productive for all kids attending. And yes, many of us are deeply supportive of the aims of Occupy Wall Street and are taking actions as individuals and OEA members to express that solidarity.

  • Gail

    Livegreen #43 raises what I think is the key question: whom is this strike against? I’m somewhat disturbed at how easily this budding movement has morphed from “Occupy Wall Street,” with the encampment at Zucotti Park being at least close to Wall St.(completely appropriate), to “Occupy City Halls” all over the country, apparently without much thought about the difference between those 2 sites. Why are people occupying the space in front of Oakland City Hall? What about occupying the Pacific Stock Exchange in SF? (Of course they would arrest everybody in a heartbeat–some sign that they’re a more appropriate target.) The city of Oakland is not the enemy. The Oakland school board is not the enemy.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    If the strike is truly about shutting down Oakland, why have substitute teachers at all?

    That’s a rhetorical question. I’ll be covering somebody’s class tomorrow while he or she is out showing solidarity. Thanks for the lesson plans, Katy; it’s the first I’ve heard of them.

    Big crucial unrelated question, though: Who else got the phone message this evening about district e-mail? It was a lot of information presented very quickly, with no Replay button, so my details are a bit hazy, BUT:

    –Everybody who has e-mail that they want to keep needs to have it archived, on our own home computers, by noon tomorrow. At that point, the IT Services department will be…trashing a lot of our e-mail messages.

    –In order to archive your e-mail, you must have Microsoft Outlook installed on your machine.

    –September 16th is a milestone date. Any e-mail that’s not archived will be wiped from the district system if you’ve received it (before or after? Gosh, he was talking fast!) September 16th.

    No idea why it’s so crucial that everybody’s e-mail be wiped out with less than 24 hours notice. Something about people not being able to read their district e-mail at all.

    I called a colleague to ask if she knew what was going on, and she hadn’t even received the phone message, because she’s canceled her land line.

    My sense is, this is going to be a rude surprise to a whole bunch of teachers.

  • Oakland Teacher

    I am taking a momentary break from trying to archive all my emails as was suggested in Troy Flint’s message. I have hundreds of emails that I hate to lose, but honestly – my nerves are not up to spending the entire eve working on this.

    If anyone comes up with simple step by step directions for those of us who are tech challenged, please post!

    Sorry to go so far off topic.

    I too am teaching all day tomorrow, but will head over to downtown right afterward.

  • Oakland teacher

    Here OEA goes again, using propaganda to be divisive. Is Occupy Oakland an anti charter movement as the OEA website states? Are the parents who choose to give their children choice in a failing district somehow not a part of the 99% the protest represents? Last I checked per pupil funding was a parent’s choice. OEA should stop pitting communities apart and stand up for the true values of the occupy movement: solidarity of the people against the growing socioeconomic divide. Thanks to all parents, teachers and staff who try their hardest to give Oakland youth choice in a district that doesn’t provide all the necessary tools.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    Step 1: Call the OEA office at 763-4020 and leave a message urging them to prevent this e-mail thing from happening tomorrow.

    Step 2: If you’re going downtown tomorrow, don’t take your children or anybody else’s children.

    Step 3: While you’re down there, provided there’s no teargas and you don’t wind up in jail, please BUY SOMETHING, whether it’s a hat, a muffin or 12, or a pair of shoes, from one of the small Oakland businesses whose struggling owners haven’t budgeted for all this chaos all over the news.

  • Makeitgoaway

    Wow- I didn’t know tomorrow would “save democracy.”. Can’t wait for the news of this demonstration to shake the Obama administration and the Republican presidential candidates to their very bowels. I’ll bet when those Wall Street fat cats and Sacramento do nothings see those teachers in the streets with little kids carrying signs they’ll just fold up their “tents” and sue for peace and decide to fairly fund education again and tax themselves besides. Hasn’t this been done before?

    OK, here’s some history- remember the Bonus Army? Coxey’s Army? the Populist Party? the IWW? The anarchist bombing of Wall Street? Henry Wallace and the Progressive Party? the Seattle General Strike of 1919? Americans will not accept radical change. You could look it up.