California Educator

April / May 2019

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the streets to fight for smaller class sizes, more student supports, a living wage for educators, and an end to ram- pant school closures. e strike was about more than a teachers contract — it was a community movement for the opportunity that all Oakland kids deserve, regardless of where they live. "Quite simply, you can't feed the minds of our stu- dents by starving their schools," says OEA President Keith Brown. The strength of the movement was on display from the start when 95 percent of OEA members were out on strike on Day One. Parents bolstered the ef fort; only 5 p ercent of students cam e to class that day. With each day of th e strike, picket lin es grew and fewer students attended school. By the final day, only 2 percent of Oakland Unified School District's 37,000 students were in class. Educators and the community converged every day at midday, with rallies featuring civil rights heroine Dolores Huerta, comedian W. Kamau Bell, filmmaker and activ- ist Boots Riley, and hip-hop musicians Bambu, Zion I and Mistah F.A.B. The showdown between OEA and OUSD also became a battleground between educators fighting for quality public schools for all and billionaires who want to privatize education and siphon off funds intended for neighborhood public schools. With the combined power of the community, OEA The energy of the strike powered OEA to major gains for Oakland students. (Photo on far left by Joseph Brusky) reached a historic deal with wins in all their core areas. But the fight for the schools Oakland students deserve has only started, Brown says. "We have a contract that begins to address ending the teacher reten- tion crisis. We have a contract that brings in more resources for our students and more student supports," Brown says. "However, we realize that the fight does not end with this contract. It is only the beginning." e impact of the Oakland educators strike is already reverberating throughout the Bay Area and beyond. e San Ramon Valley Educa- tion Association (SRVEA) was prepared to strike for better learning conditions for their students after members voted by 98 percent to authorize a work stoppage. eir unity powered their bargaining team, who refused to back down on the demand for lower class sizes. ey reached an agreement with their district and won the improvements their students deserve — without having to strike. " We made sure our community knew what our students needed and how firmly we intended to fill those needs. With 98 percent of our membership willing to strike, management finally heard the com- munity message loud and clear," says SRVEA President Ann Katzburg. " We achieved our goals in this campaign, and our tentative agree- ment ref lects our students' needs. We didn't want to strike, and we didn't have to." See our special interactive feature that showcases much of our #RedForEd coverage at At press time, the Dublin Teachers Association had just autho- rized a strike, while educators in Madera were organizing amid an extended contract struggle (see "Bargaining Roundup," page 47). #RedForEd continues! 20 Spotlight

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