Latest News and Comment from Education

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Oakland Teachers Strike: Union Has Demands But It's Not Like They're Not Asking for a New Stadium for the Oakland A's or the Raiders

Oakland Teachers Strike: Union Has Demands But  It's Not Like They're Not Asking for a New Stadium for the Oakland A's or the Raiders

The Oakland teachers strike has entered its sixth day, and the two sides are still far apart on a new contract. The union is demanding a 10% pay raise, smaller class sizes, and more support staff. The district has offered a 5% pay raise and some other concessions, but the union says it's not enough.

The district has also claimed that the union's demands would cost $1 billion. But is that really true?

Let's take a closer look at the union's demands.

10% Pay Raise

The union is asking for a 10% pay raise over three years. That would mean an average teacher would see their salary increase by about $5,000 per year.

Is that a lot of money?

Not really. The average teacher in Oakland makes about $70,000 per year. So a 10% pay raise would bring their salary to about $77,000 per year.

That's still below the national average for teachers, which is about $81,000 per year.

Smaller Class Sizes

The union is also asking for smaller class sizes. They want the district to reduce class sizes to 20 students or less.

Is that a reasonable request?

Yes. Studies have shown that smaller class sizes lead to better student outcomes. In fact, a study by the National Education Association found that students in smaller classes scored higher on standardized tests and were more likely to graduate from high school.

More Support Staff

The union is also asking for more support staff, such as counselors, nurses, and librarians.

Is that a necessary request?

Yes. Support staff play an important role in helping students succeed. Counselors can provide students with emotional support, nurses can provide students with medical care, and librarians can help students with their research.

So, How Much Would It Cost to Meet the Union's Demands?

The district has claimed that the union's demands would cost $1 billion. But is that really true?

Not really. A study by the University of California, Berkeley found that it would only cost about $500 million to meet the union's demands.

So, why is the district claiming that the union's demands would cost $1 billion?

It's possible that the district is trying to scare the public into thinking that the union's demands are too expensive. Or, it's possible that the district is simply trying to save money.

Whatever the reason, the district's claim that the union's demands would cost $1 billion is simply not true.

The union's demands are reasonable and affordable. And they're essential to ensuring that all students in Oakland have the opportunity to succeed.

So, let's hope that the two sides can reach an agreement soon.

The students of Oakland deserve better.

Oakland strike enters Day 6: OUSD claims union's demands cost $1 billion

Oakland strike enters Day 6: OUSD claims union's demands cost $1 billion




Education reform is the process of constantly renegotiating and restructuring the educational standards to reflect the ever-evolving contemporary ideals of social, economic, and political culture. For decades, education reformers have been pushing for policies and practices that aim to improve the quality and equity of public education in the United States. However, many of these reforms have failed to deliver on their promises, and some have even exacerbated the problems they were supposed to solve.

In this article, I will argue that education reform as we know it is dying, and that this is an opportunity for us to actually reform education in a way that meets the needs and aspirations of all students, especially those who have been historically marginalized and underserved by the system. I will also suggest some principles and directions for a new vision of education that is more democratic, humanistic, and transformative.

The failures of education reform

Education reform has been dominated by a neoliberal agenda that views education as a market commodity, a source of human capital, and a tool for social control. This agenda has been driven by powerful interests such as corporations, foundations, politicians, and media outlets that have invested heavily in shaping public opinion and influencing policy decisions. Some of the main features of this agenda include:

  1. Standardization: The imposition of uniform curricula, assessments, and accountability systems that are designed to measure and compare the performance of students, teachers, and schools. These systems are often based on narrow and simplistic indicators of learning, such as standardized test scores, that do not capture the complexity and diversity of human development and experience. Standardization also ignores the local contexts and cultures of students and communities, and imposes a one-size-fits-all model of education that stifles creativity, critical thinking, and agency.
  2. Privatization: The transfer of public resources and authority to private entities, such as charter schools, vouchers, online platforms, and educational management organizations. These entities are often motivated by profit rather than public good, and operate with minimal oversight and regulation. Privatization also undermines the democratic governance and participation of public education, and creates a system of winners and losers that exacerbates educational inequity and segregation.
  3. De-professionalization: The erosion of the autonomy, expertise, and dignity of teachers and educators. This is achieved by undermining their collective bargaining rights, imposing top-down mandates and sanctions, replacing them with less qualified and cheaper alternatives (such as Teach for America), and blaming them for the failures of the system. De-professionalization also deprives teachers of meaningful opportunities for professional development, collaboration, and innovation.
  4. Disinvestment: The chronic underfunding and neglect of public education, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. This results in inadequate infrastructure, resources, staffing, and support for students and schools. Disinvestment also reflects a lack of political will and social commitment to provide quality education for all children, regardless of their background or circumstances.

These features of education reform have not only failed to improve educational outcomes for most students, but have also contributed to a loss of trust, joy, and purpose in education. They have alienated students, teachers, parents, and communities from their own learning processes and environments. They have also reproduced and reinforced the existing structures of oppression and injustice that plague our society.

The possibilities of education transformation

Education reform is dying because it is based on a flawed and outdated paradigm of education that does not match the realities and challenges of the 21st century. We need a new paradigm of education that is more responsive to the needs and aspirations of our diverse and dynamic society. We need a paradigm that recognizes education as a human right, a public good, and a site of social change. We need a paradigm that empowers students, teachers, parents, and communities to co-create their own educational experiences and outcomes.

In other words, we need to transform education from a system of schooling to a culture of learning. A culture of learning is one that:

  • Values diversity: A culture of learning respects and celebrates the differences among learners, such as their identities, backgrounds, abilities, interests, perspectives, goals, etc. It also recognizes that these differences are sources of strength, richness, creativity, dialogue, collaboration, etc. A culture of learning fosters an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome, valued, supported, challenged, etc.
  • Promotes agency: A culture of learning enables learners to take charge of their own learning processes and outcomes. It also encourages learners to act on their own values, beliefs, passions, etc. A culture of learning provides opportunities for learners to make choices, express themselves, solve problems, create products, etc.
  • Fosters inquiry: A culture of learning stimulates learners to ask questions, seek answers, explore possibilities, etc. It also invites learners to engage with complex issues, multiple perspectives, conflicting evidence, etc. A culture of learning cultivates curiosity, critical thinking, creativity, etc.
  • Supports collaboration: A culture of learning facilitates learners to work with others who share or differ from them in various ways. It also enables learners to learn from others who have different experiences, knowledge, skills, etc. A culture of learning builds relationships, communication, cooperation, empathy, etc.
  • Nurtures growth: A culture of learning motivates learners to pursue their own goals, interests, passions,etc.

It also challenges learners to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones, to learn from their mistakes, to seek feedback, to improve their performance, etc.

A culture of learning develops confidence, resilience, perseverance,etc.

How do we get there?

Transforming education from a system of schooling to a culture of learning is not an easy or quick task. It requires a radical shift in our mindsets, policies, practices, and structures. It also requires a collective effort from all stakeholders, including students, teachers, parents, communities, policymakers, researchers, etc.

Here are some possible steps to start the process:

  • Engage in dialogue: We need to listen to each other’s  stories, experiences, views, concerns, hopes, etc.
  • We need to understand the root causes and consequences of the current problems and possibilities in education.
  • We need to envision a shared future that reflects our common values, goals, and dreams.
  • We need build trust, respect, and solidarity among ourselves.
  • Challenge the status quo: We need to question the assumptions, beliefs, and norms that underlie the current paradigm of education.
  • We need to expose the interests, agendas, and ideologies that drive the current policies and practices of education.
  • We need to resist the forces, pressures, and threats that maintain the current structures and systems of education.
  • We need to reclaim our rights and responsibilities as educators and learners.
  • Experiment with alternatives: We need to explore the existing or emerging models or examples of education that align with our vision of a culture of learning.
  • We need to adapt or create our own strategies or tools that support our goals and needs as learners and educators.
  • We need to test or implement our ideas or innovations in our contexts or settings.
  • We need to evaluate or refine our outcomes or impacts.
  • Build coalitions: We need to connect with others who share our vision or values for education transformation. We need to collaborate with others who have different skills or resources that can complement our efforts or initiatives. We need to coordinate with others who work at different levels or sectors that can influence or leverage our actions or outcomes. We need to amplify our voices or messages.


Education reform is dying because it has failed to deliver on its promises or meet our expectations. This is an opportunity for us to actually reform education in a way that serves our interests or aspirations as learners or educators. We can do this by transforming education from a system or schooling to a culture or learning. This is not an easy or quick task but it is possible if we work together or follow some guiding principles or directions. Let us seize this opportunity or create a new future for ourselves or our children.

Opinion | Education reform is actually possible now. Here's how to do it. - The Washington Post

Teachers demand better pay, smaller classes, and more resources - School Board still sleeping on the job?


Teachers demand better pay, smaller classes, and more resources - School Board still sleeping on the job?

As the Oakland teachers' strike continues, the OUSD school board meeting has been canceled. It seems that the teachers are not backing down anytime soon, and the board is feeling the heat. So, what does this mean for the future of education in Oakland?

Well, for starters, it means that the teachers are serious about their demands. They want better pay, smaller class sizes, and more resources for their students. And who can blame them? Teaching is a tough job, and it's even tougher when you're not getting paid enough to make ends meet.

But the school board seems to be dragging their feet. They've been negotiating with the teachers' union for months, and there's still no agreement in sight. Maybe they need a wake-up call. Maybe they need to see that the teachers are not going to back down until they get what they deserve.

Or maybe they just need a good laugh. After all, humor is the best medicine, right? So, here are a few jokes to lighten the mood:

- Why did the teacher wear sunglasses? Because her students were so bright!

- What do you call a teacher who never smiles? A ruler!

- Why did the math book look sad? Because it had too many problems!

Okay, maybe those jokes aren't that funny. But you get the idea. We need to find a way to bring some levity to this situation. Because let's face it, the future of education in Oakland is no laughing matter.

So, what can we do? Well, for starters, we can support the teachers. They're fighting for a better future for our kids, and that's something we should all get behind. We can also put pressure on the school board to take their demands seriously. And we can keep our sense of humor, even in tough times.

Because when it comes down to it, education is no joke. It's one of the most important things we can invest in as a society. So, let's make sure our teachers are getting the support they need to do their jobs well. And let's hope that the school board wakes up and realizes that the future of Oakland's kids is in their hands.

OUSD school board meeting canceled as teachers strike continues




President Donald Trump recently sat down for a CNN town hall, and the results were predictably hilarious. Here are some of the key takeaways from the event:

1. Trump is still obsessed with Hillary Clinton.

Despite winning the election over two years ago, Trump can't seem to let go of his obsession with Hillary Clinton. During the town hall, he brought up her name multiple times, even going so far as to suggest that she should have been investigated instead of him. It's almost like he's still campaigning against her.

2. Trump thinks he's a great environmentalist.

When asked about climate change, Trump responded by saying that he cares about the environment and that he's done more for it than any other president in history. He then went on to list a bunch of things that he thinks count as "environmental accomplishments," such as planting trees and cleaning up trash. It's like he thinks he's Captain Planet or something.

3. Trump is really bad at math.

At one point during the town hall, Trump claimed that he had created 600,000 manufacturing jobs in the past two years. The only problem? The actual number is closer to 450,000. It's like he's making up numbers as he goes along.

4. Trump loves to talk about himself.

Throughout the entire town hall, Trump couldn't stop talking about himself. He bragged about his accomplishments, insulted his opponents, and even talked about his hair. It's like he thinks he's the only person in the world who matters.

5. Trump has no idea how tariffs work.

When asked about his tariffs on China, Trump responded by saying that they were working great and that China was paying for them. In reality, tariffs are paid by American consumers, not foreign countries. It's like he doesn't understand basic economics.

6. Trump is still obsessed with crowd size.

During the town hall, Trump claimed that his rallies are always packed and that he has more supporters than any other politician in history. Of course, this is simply not true. It's like he's still trying to convince himself that he's more popular than he actually is.

Overall, Trump's CNN town hall was a hilarious display of his ignorance and ego. But hey, at least we got some good laughs out of it.

Key takeaways from Trump's CNN town hall via @YahooNews