Episode 5: Oakland Strikes, Oakland Wins

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Welcome back to

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today we're going to be talking about Oakland strikes. And what makes Oakland so unique. After seven days of striking, advocating for their students, and shutting down school board meetings, Oakland teachers, finally, one of

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the members of the Oakland Education Association. how bad the only party at the bargaining table that is putting students first.

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Yesterday, the neutral

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back fine this week, they reached a historic agreement with Oakland Unified School District for an 11% pay raise 3% bonus, a moratorium on school shutdowns as well as a moratorium on charter schools. Initially, when I decided to make this episode of Get Schooled about the Oakland strikes, I imagine that it would just be a brief rundown and an update on why teachers are striking how long they've been striking for and what they've been winning. But as I started to research the strike for this episode, I learned very quickly that Oakland 2019 is a very unique time and place in American education. There are three reasons for this. First of all, Oakland's unique socio economic landscape makes it conducive to charter schools. And that is a really big controversy. Second, the 2016 Oakland school board election shows how private influence is increasing now more than ever, in public education. Third, Oakland Unified School District or Oh, USD, is running a $30 million budget deficit, the piece of legislature introduced to address that is what some teachers are calling an attempt at a state takeover. So here's the quick rundown on today's fact sack about Oakland education and why it's so unique. First, when you look at the number of charters in Oakland, this number is proportionally a lot higher than any other place in the state of California. In fact, 20 years ago, there were less than 10 charter schools in all of Oakland. And now, that number is 34. Because of the increase of charter schools in Oakland, enrollment in traditional public schools has also decreased by over 30,000 students. This translates to a funding diversion of over 50 $7 million out of Oakland Unified School District. So you can imagine that this sets the breeding ground for an Oakland teachers strike.

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The problem of privatization, however, doesn't stop here. And it certainly didn't begin here. In 2016, Oakland had a very unique school board race. Traditionally, local races, including public school races don't generally get associated with large sums of money. However, the 2016 Oakland school board race was quite different. Over $800,000 of private money was funneled into this race. This included contributions from various people and organizations that were overwhelmingly pro charters, including organizations that tried to fund their own type of Public School Network. Many Oakland educators argued that this disproportionately affected students of color, and instead of giving students a higher quality access to education, actually deterred them from doing well in school. In fact, if you look at footage from the Oakland teachers strike, you'll see signs and chance saying billionaires can't teach our kids and our schools are not for sale.

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However, this gets even more complicated with the last piece of today's fact sack. Now, as I mentioned before, all USD is running a deficit of over $30 million. Last fall, there's a piece of legislature introduced to combat this, which was called ab 1840.

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This bill was initially introduced as essentially a bailout measure for USD 30 million dollar deficit.

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At first glance, it seems like a good solution. All USDA loans are forgiven. schools get the money they need, and everything works out perfectly. Of course, if you look at it in more detail, this isn't the case. This bill is actually what's forcing over 20 schools in Oakland to be shut down. This bill even goes so far as authorizing the Oakland school board to sell land that schools are based on. If you think about all of these three things holistically, Oakland is facing a very distinct crisis of public education versus privatization. pressure from private backers is increasing at an unprecedented rate. As more and more private money flows into Oakland's public schools. And at the same time, oh USD is facing immense pressure from the public sector pay its bills. For more information, as well as articles on today's back side, please check out our

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Facebook page@facebook.com slash soapbox project

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Special thanks to Keith brown Education Association.

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As always,

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if you've enjoyed

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this episode of Get Schooled, please like and subscribe to our podcast and tell as many of your friends as possible. We'd really appreciate it

Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Nivi Achanta