California School District Caves To Teachers Union’s ‘Reparations’ Demands
After striking for nearly two weeks, the Oakland Education Association (OEA) reached a tentative agreement Monday with Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), winning reparations for black students and a pay increase for most teachers.
As a part of the tentative agreement, the district will create a “reparations for black students taskforce” at schools where black students make up 40% of the population, and most teachers will receive a 15.5% pay raise over 2.5 years. Nearly 3,000 teachers making up the OEA had been on strike since May 4, halting instruction.
“Today we reached an agreement to raise our compensation by 15% including a historic collapse of our salary structure,” Ismael Armendariz, OEA president, told ABC 7 News. “We added teacher librarians, more counselors and more mental health services to our schools and to our students.”
In addition to the task force, elementary counseling services will be prioritized where black students make up 40% of the population, the tentative agreement showed. A third independent party will evaluate the impact of the school district’s “black student thriving plan” as a part of the agreement.
The teachers union and the district will partner together to provide resources for homeless students, the tentative agreement showed. Under the agreement, the OEA and OUSD will work together to expand free public bus vouchers to students who are eligible.
BREAKING: OEA’s Bargaining Team of over 50 Oakland educators has reached a TA with OUSD. Our collective power forced OUSD to commit to living wages for educators, more resources in our schools, enforceable working conditions & common good issues for our students & their families. pic.twitter.com/iPKXnsXfwf
— Oakland Education Association (@OaklandEA) May 15, 2023
The OEA was also striking over climate justice initiatives that were not included in the tentative agreement; the original proposal included “Climate Justice Day” field trips and workshops to push “quality equitable and culturally relevant teaching.”
While the teachers were on strike, the district’s 80 buildings remained open to students while office staff helped supervise and instruct the students. In 2022, nearly 35% of OUSD students were proficient in English while nearly 26% of students met math grade-level expectations, according to EdSource.
Instruction is expected to resume Tuesday as the teachers use Monday as a “transition day,” according to the school district website. OEA members will now vote on the agreement.
“Monday will be a ‘transition day’ for OEA members to prepare for regular school to resume on Tuesday,” the school district said in a statement. “They may be at school on Monday but are not required to be. Some teachers may choose to be back in class with their students; others may choose not to come to campus.”
The OEA and OUSD did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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