“Red for Ed,” a nationwide campaign of teachers’ strikes, will continue this Thursday in Oakland, California, as the Oakland Education Association (OEA) plans to strike against the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).
Bay Area public radio station KQED reported Saturday: “Teachers are asking for better pay, smaller class sizes and more resources for classrooms and student programs. They have been working without a contract since July 2017, and the union has been unable to reach an agreement with the district despite prolonged negotiations.”
Oakland teachers are among the lowest-paid in the Bay Area, according to edsource.org.
On Friday, a state-appointed neutral fact-finder released a set of recommendations to resolve the disagreement between the district and the teachers. The fact-finder recommended pay increases of three percent each year for two years and new negotiations for another increase in the third year, KQED reported.
The district had offered five percent over three years, and the OEA had demanded a 12 percent increase over three years. In addition, the fact-finder recommended cutting class sizes by an average of one student by 2021; teachers wanted bigger decreases, along with new support staff.
The OEA rejected the fact-finder’s recommendations, KQED reported.
Another controversy is the OUSD’s plan to close 24 of its 87 schools, many of which are in low-income areas, while charter schools have received more investment.
Union activists are targeting “billionaires” who bankroll school reform and charter school efforts, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
OEA President Keith Brown declared in a press release Monday: “Parents, especially those reliant on walking and public transportation, want strong neighborhood schools. Rather than follow the parents’ agenda, these moves are being pushed by a group of billionaires with a political agenda and their campaign contributions.”
The OEA press release also stated that the union had been “inspired” by other teachers’ strikes, including the recent strike in Los Angeles, which failed to produce significant gains for teachers but succeeded in mobilizing left-wing groups.
The “Red for Ed” slogan (on social media, “#RedforEd”) has featured in many teachers’ strikes across the country, from West Virginia to Arizona, and now into California.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.