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Teachers, Oakland school district strike a tentative deal

On Friday afternoon, just as Oakland’s school board meeting was supposed to start, a union representative wearing red–the symbol of the “Red for Ed” movement that has galvanized teachers’ strikes across the nation–stepped in front of the crowd and announced that teachers and school officials had reached a tentative four-year agreement. If ratified, it will end the strike that has shut down Oakland schools for the last seven days. Among the provisions: Teachers will receive an 11 percent raise, as…

On the fifth day of their strike, Oakland teachers force cancellation of a school board meeting

On the fifth day of their strike, Oakland teachers shut down a school board meeting. Starting in the early afternoon on Wednesday, teachers and their supporters picketed outside of the La Escuelita Education Complex. By the time the meeting was set to start, thousands of teachers, parents, and students were marching all around the building. Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) officials released a statement postponing the meeting. The school board had been set to vote on about $21.75 million in…

Oakland’s teacher strike concludes its second day

On Friday morning, Oakland teachers returned to the picket lines as their strike entered its second day. The bargaining teams from the Oakland Education Association (OEA)—the teachers’ union—and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) met in the morning to resume negotiations but as of 4 pm Friday afternoon, had not come to any resolution. The two sides have been negotiating on a new contract for over two years; teacher pay and class sizes have been the main sticking points in…

An Oakland teacher explains why he’s going on strike

Today is the first day of the Oakland teachers’ strike. Public school teachers and staff gathered outside their schools to form picket lines, chanting and rallying support in their quest for smaller class sizes, higher wages, more student support services and a promise from the district that there will be no more school closures. Earlier this week, we followed Alejandro Estrada, a 4th grade teacher at International Community School and the union representative for his school, as he prepared to…

Oakland teachers strike for higher wages, smaller classes

Early Thursday morning, Oakland teachers went on strike, calling for a pay raise and a reduction in class sizes. As early as 6 am, teachers gathered—equipped with coffee, jackets, and beanies to withstand the chilly morning weather—and started to picket in front of their schools. The strike follows two years of failed negotiations between the Oakland Education Association, which represents teachers as well as school nurses, counselors and other staff, and the Oakland Unified School District. The teachers have been working…

Lawsuit challenges Oakland’s certification of education funding tax Measure AA

Two weeks ago, a business advocacy group sued the city of Oakland over its certification of Measure AA, a tax initiative from the November election that would create a fund for more early childhood education programs. The lawsuit—filed by the Jobs and Housing Coalition, along with a group of property owners—argues that the city council thwarted the will of Oakland voters by certifying the measure even though it failed to earn support from two-thirds of the voters. The measure, also…

Oakland City Council backs teachers; doesn’t vote on rent protections

The Oakland City Council meeting ended in confusion and shouts of anger Tuesday night after a legal issue delayed a vote on an ordinance that would have extended rent control protections to tenants living in own-occupied duplexes and triplexes.   “What’s the issue?” shouted attendee Reisa Jaffe at new Council President Rebecca Kaplan (at-large). “I’d like to know what happened?” demanded another atttendee, standing up with his hands in the air.  “These issues were just brought to our attention tonight,” said…

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