Oakland Unified students are on their fifth day at home or at school with limited instruction because their teachers are on strike. The Oakland branch of the NAACP has urged the teachers union to end the strike, saying it is hurting children.
“We know that our children’s education should never be compromised, and education is critical to ending intergenerational poverty,” said Cynthia Adams, president of the Oakland NAACP in a statement Monday. “As the academic school year nears the end, it is our position that all students, including the most vulnerable, should be learning and thriving in school.”
Half of the children in the district are Hispanic, 20 percent are Black, 10 percent are Asian and 10 percent are white. Nearly three-quarters of the district’s children come from low-income families, according to state data.
Oakland’s scores on standardized tests lag behind the state average. Just over 35 percent of the district’s students met or exceeded standards in English language arts, compared with the state average of 47.6 percent in 2022. There was a similar gap in math, with 25.9 percent of Oakland students meeting or exceeding standards in math, compared with 33.4 percent of the state’s students.
The statement expressed its support for the district’s teachers but questioned whether a strike should have been called so close to the end of the school year. The school year in the district ends May 25.
“We strongly urge the OEA to reconsider its decision to continue to strike at such a critical time in the school year,” Adams said. “As an educator in OUSD for over 35 years, I have seen the devastating effects of learning disruption on our students. Currently, students are taking exams, preparing for college and other important activities and need the support of their teachers and community to finish their school year strong.”
The union responded Wednesday afternoon with a statement from Kampala Taiz-Rancifer, its first vice president: “As an educator, a Black mother of OUSD students, and a member of the NAACP, I am proud to belong to a community that overwhelmingly supports the OEA strike for racially just community schools.”
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