OAKLAND (KPIX) – The union representing teachers and faculty at Oakland schools announced they are set to go out on strike on Thursday. The move has students, parents and the City trying come up with a plan.
“We are so hella proud of our city!”
That was the upbeat welcome Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf gave to the hundreds of volunteers at Monday’s My Brother’s Keeper school cleanup event at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. But she wasn’t optimistic that a teachers strike could be avoided here.
“I would be surprised if a strike could be averted for Thursday,” Schaaf said. “But there is no school on Friday. I am hopeful this can remain a one-day strike.”
If the strike happens, the city will open libraries and 15 recreation centers to give kids a place to go. Still, the district wants parents to bring their kids to school, saying Central Office support staff will be there to supervise.
At MLK, Jr. elementary, Principal Roma Groves-Waters says students will work on computer-based learning programs and watch instructional science videos.
“So instruction will be going on that is quality and that does focus on the Common Core standards,” she said. But she acknowledges it will not be the normal curriculum for the day.
At union headquarters, organizers already did a lot of the hands-on preparation a few weeks ago, so on Monday they were coordinating people to make sure each school site has enough picketers.
“It’s putting people in the proper roles,” said organizer Donna Salonga. “And so, for my picket line training we’re going to be solidifying roles so we have, like a traffic liaison, a police liaison.”
Parents have to plan as well, and Dejonai Dixon says her 6-year-old son Kyle will go to school but he can expect a lot of extra book work when he gets home.
“They said the plan is mostly for them to be watching videos, not really learning,” Dixon said, “so I’m going to still have them do homework and stuff.”
As to whether she’s concerned the strike could drag on, Dixon said she is.
“I mean, he’s in school for a reason…to learn, you know?”
That’s the big question that a lot of parents are nervous about. How long could it last? No one can say so no one really knows what to prepare for.
The last significant school strike in Oakland happened in 1996 and lasted 28 days.