Petition update

Teachers and "work to rule"--why we should care (and continue to take action to support our wonderful teachers!)

Stephanie McGraw
Oakland, CA, United States

Feb 8, 2015 — Thank you to everyone who has signed this petition thus far. When I started it a few weeks ago, I never imagined that thousands of people would sign it so quickly. I especially want to thank OUSD Director Jody London for her thoughtful responses; it's heartening to know that the OUSD Governing Board is engaging in this important conversation with us. I am updating this petition because the wonderful teachers at my children's school (Hillcrest) have voted to "work-to-rule" beginning next week. As a teacher myself, I can 100% guarantee that this will adversely impact our children's learning. However, it is imperative--now, more than ever--that we support our teachers as they advocate for a livable raise by putting more pressure on the OUSD Governing Board to listen to the teachers' demands: if you've already signed this petition, please email it to your friends and ask them to sign it; if you haven't done so yet, please post (or re-post) a link to the survey on your facebook page so that we can continue pressuring the OUSD Governing Board to offer a fair contract to our teachers.

To provide some background, about 20 OUSD schools are doing some type of work-to-rule. Seven schools are doing it daily thus far (Montera, Joaquin Miller, Montclair, Cleveland, Melrose, Glenview and Hillcrest), while others are doing it every-other-week or off and on. What "working to rule" means is that our teachers will only work the hours stipulated in their contracts (for most elementary school teachers, this is 8:15-3:05). This is a powerful way for the teachers to demonstrate just how much work they do without going out on strike. As a teacher (not for OUSD), I know that much of the work that we parents value (grading homework, providing students with extra support after school, communicating with parents, planning field trips and major projects, etc.) happens after the school day ends. My first grade daughter has been participating in a wonderful after-school-reading program put on by her amazing teacher, Mary Jardine. Beginning tomorrow, this program will no longer meet. Furthermore, I regularly meet with my children's teachers well after the school day ends as they're working to prepare the next day's class or grading homework. For us at Hillcrest, this won't be possible beginning tomorrow.

I understand that many parents are frustrated by this and wish that our teachers wouldn't "work to rule." However, it is imperative that we all band together and support our teachers who, when you think about it, are only asking to be paid a livable wage. They aren't asking for a huge sum of money--they just want to be paid as professionals, and they deserve this given the amazing work they do. It's important to realize that OUSD pays its teachers (salaries and benefits combined) less than ANY DISTRICT in Alameda County. Yet it spends more than most any other school district on administrative and contract services. Newly appointed Superintendent Antwan Wilson was given a huge pay raise over the interim superintendent (http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_25662079/oakland-school-board-vote-280-000-year-contract). Our teachers likewise deserve to be paid competitively for the incredible work they do. They also deserve the other concessions they are hoping for (limits on special education class size, increased counseling and support services, educator input into professional development options, and increased support for high-need populations).

Thank you all for your support, and for continuing to support our phenomenal OUSD teachers. Again, please help spread the word so that we can collectively pressure the OUSD Governing Board to listen to our teachers' demands. Our teachers, as well as our children, need us.


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