Oakland teachers are set to strike this upcoming Thursday, demanding higher wages and more focused funding for student achievement. Representatives of the teacher’s union stated that the current conditions in the district are “failing our schools” and in turn, failing the students of the city of Oakland, according to a San Francisco Chronicle piece about the strike update.
One of the main reasons the teacher’s union is citing for the strike are the low teacher wages that teachers take home each month. Teacher salaries in Oakland range from $46,570.26 to $83,723.50. The teacher’s union has stressed the fact that these wages are the lowest within Alameda County. Paired with this salary, the average rent in the city of Oakland for a one bedroom apartment is $2,567, this rate has increased by 12 percent in the last year and only shows signs of increasing in the years coming with the population growth in the Bay Area. This leads many teachers to team up and live with multiple roommates to lessen the burden of the rent, or even take on second jobs to make ends meet each month. Teaching and living within the Bay Area is only becoming more unstable for educators.
The school district agrees that teachers deserve higher pay, but it is struggling to find sources to make this a reality. The district is hopeful that Governor Newsom’s announcement of an investment of $80.7 billion into K-12 education will support settling some of these tensions. In order for this to occur, the school district will need to effectively manage these funds and ensure that they are used to support teaching, learning, and student achievement. As an educator, I hope that the media attention on teacher strikes around the country will translate to a stronger accountability system for school district’s management of funds.
The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the school district plans to keep schools open on Thursday when the strike commences. The article states, “the district plans to keep schools open and hire substitute teachers in the event of a strike, which would affect 36,286 students in 87 district-run schools.” This strike will greatly impact students and their families in the coming days, and it’s important that parents are aware of the options and resources available to them. GO Public Schools has compiled a helpful list of resources to serve this purpose and better inform and prepare families for the strike.
This strike will greatly impact teachers, families, and the school district, among other stakeholders. It is my hope that these stakeholders are willing to come together to propose solutions, not just protest the problems. We need educators and families at the table making decisions to support our students.
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