Parents, Community and Allies,
Our Oakland public school teachers have been without a contract since July 1, 2017. Since teachers are such an important resource, PLAN hoped that OUSD and OEA would resolve their differences and agree on a fair contract that prioritized student equity. At this late stage of negotiations, we are sad to hear that teachers feel their demands for smaller class sizes, more student supports, and a decent salary that would help reduce high teacher turnover have gone unheard. We all want the best for our students and we all want teachers to feel valued for their amazing work to advance student success.
Upholding the value of shared responsibility, Bay Area PLAN stands in firm support of Oakland Education Association’s (OEA) efforts to secure a fair contract. We support OEA’s fight for the resources needed by thousands of students who lack access to the best education, especially African American, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, ELL, and students with disabilities. Smaller class sizes, more student supports, and a decent salary for teachers are fair demands to make from a district budget of almost $700 million.
Bay Area PLAN is dedicated to supporting parents in exercising their rights to ensure their children achieve student success. For over 15 years, we have worked with thousands of parents and family members, developing their skills, knowledge, and capacity to organize, bringing parents and families from diverse backgrounds together to transform schools and improve conditions for students. Today is no different and we will continue to support parent leaders’ right to stand in solidarity with teachers who are fighting for their right for fair wages and working conditions.
We know that partnership works between parents and teachers to create student success. Our relationships with OEA teachers and union leaders have fostered strong partnerships between teachers and parents in schools across Oakland. We know the many challenges teachers face, and we are highly concerned with the growing challenge of retaining teachers — a challenge that continues to leave many classrooms with a rotating cast of substitutes. Ensuring a teacher in every classroom is an equity issue. PLAN members are very clear: teacher retention is a priority.
For several years, PLAN has joined many other organizations, parents, student leaders, and community members in fighting to achieve an equitable budget in OUSD. Over the last two years, we have organized and called for fiscal transparency and zero-based budgeting to ensure that the core issue of teacher retention would be addressed. We continue to hope that negotiations will result in real change and solid, research backed solutions to stabilize teaching and learning across all schools.
True to our mission, we are focused on ensuring that parents, community members and organizations have the information they need to make the decisions that are best for their students. We ultimately want to ensure that students are safe and have healthy options, should their parents and families want to support their teachers who are on strike. Additionally, we want everyone to know that if a teacher strike occurs, the best way to support is to not cross the picket lines and seek alternative locations also called solidarity schools for students.
We will continue to play a role in organizing locations that are safe for students. We will continue to support efforts to achieve a fair contract for the most valuable resource in our education system- teachers in every classroom.
We hope that the efforts of OUSD and OEA, even at this late stage of negotiations, will be able to prevent a strike. Most importantly, we respect the decisions of all parents, families, and organizations regardless of where they personally stand in the event of a teacher strike.
As more information becomes available, we will provide updates to our supporters.
PLAN leaders, staff and board