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Oakland teachers ask banks for “bailout”

on January 14, 2011

About 30 teachers gathered Thursday to demonstrate in front of three banks at the Rockridge shopping center at 51st Street and Broadway.

The Oakland Education Association, the 2,700-member union that represents teachers in the Oakland Unified School District, organized the protest. McClymonds Teacher Craig Gordon explained the group was there to “demand that schools and public services be bailed out” the same way that banks were bailed out during the mortgage crisis.

It was more of a symbolic request than anything else–a request for regulators to put the same urgent priority on education  spending that had been placed on the economic rescue of the financial system. Bloomberg News estimated that at one point last year,  the U.S. had loaned, spent or offered as much as $12.8 trillion on this rescue.

But Gordon and other participants said they would also be happy if the banks donated some money to school system, or the banks were taxed at a higher rate and that money was put towards education.

Representatives from the banks that were picketed–Wells Fargo, Chase and Bank of America–declined to comment on these requests or on the protest.


  1. TheSkylineHighSenior on January 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    OUSD and other districts that serve primarily low income families could definitely use some increased federal funding, especially with the state hurting as it is, aside from Title I funding, etc.

    These banks should follow the example set by Kaiser Permanente (when they donated around $6 million).

    • Kipp Dawson on January 23, 2011 at 3:46 am

      I’m a Berkeley High School 1962 grad, currently teaching in Pittsburgh, PA public schools. My opinion: let’s stop letting the government off the hook. We need no-strings-attached money going into our public schools from federal and state governments. “Racing” to “Top” (ala Obama administration) and other schemes are insults to our children and teachers, and our communities, and private funding always comes with strings attached — “millionaire boys clubs” and corporations dictating to our impoverished schools what we should be doing. Please, we need one united voice of students, parents, teachers, and community demanding our governments reprioritize and put our children, and our PUBLIC schools, first.

      • Regina on January 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm

        I couldn’t agree more. as a native San Franciscan educating a 15-year-old in Oakland, I am horrified at the educational apartheid that still exists in a country where SOME kids will always have the necessary access to a decent education, and SOME kids by design will not. as a active parent, there appears to be no will among involved parents — everyone is focused on their own child’s needs — and the kids that are most vulnerable don’t have the kind of representation (i.e. money or time for PTA visibility)that matters. as long as it’s about money, and until we as a society except responsibility for our well-being, most of us–teachers, students, parents in the short term–will continue to suffer.

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