Oakland teachers gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday afternoon to raise awareness and to provide a call to action for their demands to be met. While the Oakland City Council does not have the power to settle the dispute between the teachers union and the school district, they were able to empower teachers and demonstrate support.
The Oakland City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to support the demands of the teachers rallied outside and to oppose the school closures the district is planning. According to an Ed Source article on the matter, “Inside, about 17 teachers and their supporters spoke passionately to the eight council members, imploring them to join their fight for increased wages, smaller class sizes, more student supports and to stop school closures.”
Various religious leaders stated being willing to open up their churches to students if the strike takes place and several librarians and recreation leaders expressed similar plans. Community leaders in LAUSD offered similar support for the students left without a teacher during the teacher strike in that region a few weeks ago. It’s heartbreaking that this has become the norm for teachers and students in California. The demands that teachers are asking are not unreasonable by any means.
It’s time that the state of California evaluates the priority we place on teachers and educations. Teachers demands should be considered, but we should also consider the ways in which we measure the success of teachers and schools. The list of failing schools remains long and while the demands teachers are asking for are reasonable, they need to be met with the accountability that has been left out of the conversation for a long time. What good are smaller class sizes if the student achievement is to remain the same? We need ways to measure the success of the demands being made. This way the state will draw attention to the success of these measures and shift educational funding and policies to favor more positive conditions. For a long time, the conversation has been shifted away from student achievement and has been made about politics, charter schools, etc. It’s time to bring the conversation back to the biggest stakeholders: our students.
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