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Oakland’s Teachers and School District Agree on Four ‘Common Good’ Demands

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A large crowd of people outside with different colored signs and posters.
Oakland Unified School District teachers, parents and students rally outside Glenview Elementary in Oakland on May 11, 2023, during a teachers' strike in the district. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Update, 10:30 p.m. Sunday: The Oakland Education Association said the teachers’ strike would continue tomorrow morning unless the Oakland Unified School District completed and produced an accurate document reflecting an agreement reached earlier between the two groups by 11 p.m.

“We started this strike because of OUSD’s dysfunction and if we are on strike tomorrow, it is because of their indifference to our students, lack of respect for educators and inability to complete the simplest of tasks,” the Oakland Education Association said on Twitter Sunday night. “Unless you hear otherwise, we will see you on the picket line at 7:30 am tomorrow.”

Original story, 4:16 p.m. Sunday. The Oakland Unified School District and striking teachers have reached agreement on four “common good” provisions that had been sticking points during the walkout that is now in its second week.

“We are still on strike, but momentum is on our side,” the Oakland Education Association said on Twitter Saturday night.

The union representing 3,000 educators, counselors and other workers has maintained the district has failed to bargain in good faith on a new three-year contract that also makes more traditional demands like higher salaries. The striking workers want their contract to also include provisions that address racial equity, homelessness and environmental justice for students.

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On Saturday night, four of those demands had been agreed upon, relating to housing and transportation; the community schools grant; the Black thriving community schools initiative; and school closures, the Bay Area News Group reported.

It was not immediately clear Sunday morning how close the two sides were on reaching a deal on the demands still left on the table, particularly related to increased compensation.

Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in a message to parents last week that the district, the state’s 11th largest, is offering raises of as much as 22% for some teachers.

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Teachers have maintained that adding support beyond the classroom would improve learning conditions and retain educators. Other common good demands include providing more mental health support, fixing deteriorating schools and offering subsidized transportation for students from lower-income families.

The strike comes at the end of the school year, which wraps up May 25. But the district’s 80 schools have remained open to the district’s 34,000 students, with meals being offered and office staff educating and supervising. Only about 1,200 students have shown up to school since the strike started May 4, district spokesperson John Sasaki said last week.

The Associated Press and KQED’s Spencer Whitney contributed reporting to this story.

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