Oakland teachers strike in a day of action against the district’s plan to close schools


Under a plan approved by the school board in February, the district is expected to close Community Day School and Parker Elementary this year, along with Brookfield Elementary, Carl Munck Elementary, Grass Elementary Valley, Korematsu Discovery Academy, and Horace Mann Elementary by the end of 2022. -23 academic year.

“Of course, every day lost from school is important. But we also know it’s part of a larger message, and it could be any school,” said Vilma Serrano, a kindergarten teacher at the Melrose. Leadership Academy and member of the OAS Executive Council. “All the schools about it [closure] The list had different metrics that didn’t make sense,” she said. “And so I want parents to really understand that we’re doing this for our students.

In a last-minute attempt to thwart the one-day walkout, the district on Thursday filed an injunction with the Employment Public Relations Commission – which governs collective bargaining – arguing the action violated agreements of work. But the state board ultimately denied the appeal, a decision the district said was “disappointed.” In a statement, he pledged to “continue to put the needs of children first and do what he thinks is best for them.”

Debra Washington, who lives near Parker Elementary, stepped out Friday to support teachers.

“Closing this school would have an impact on the community in that children have to go far to other schools and other neighborhoods that they are probably not used to,” she said. “They are used to this school, and some of the families they live in this neighborhood.”

Some parents, however, have spoken out strongly against the walkout, accusing the teachers’ union of prioritizing politics over the welfare of children.

Students have already missed too much school and many have fallen far behind in the past two years during the pandemic, said Lakisha Young, who leads a parent empowerment organization called The Oakland REACH.

“So whose children and whose parents is this supposed to do good?” she says, emphasizing that every school day is key to getting kids up to speed. “We’re supposed to educate people and children so they can have the life they want to have… It’s just made harder and harder by adult decisions.”

But OUSD parent Josh Connor said it was important to support teachers and give them the benefit of the doubt, despite the inconvenience of not being able to send children to school for the day.

“Teachers are the people we entrust our children to every day,” he said. “I trust their judgement. Honestly, I think the school district rushed through the process of closing schools.”

Emmett Grout, 17, a student at Oakland Tech, said he and many of his classmates also support their teachers in their fight to keep schools open.

“I think it’s important that we at least try to do something about school closures,” he said. “I mean, sometimes it feels like the energy of protest is going to die and go away. So I think it’s good that the teachers are stepping in to do something about it.”

When asked how missing the day would affect him personally, Grout just shrugged.

“Well, I have a math test,” he said. “So I’m rescheduled, so I’m actually kind of grateful.”


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