Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's your decision. Should OEA Support, Oppose, or be Neutral on MEASURE N?

The OEA Representative Council will take a position on the parcel tax on October 6. Your OEA Rep should reflect the will of the staff on this very important topic. Please read all of the arguments below and discuss with your colleagues and come to a collective agreement.


1. Measure N is big enough to make a real difference in graduation rates. This matters. It will generate approximately $13 million a year for high schools. That's about $1000 for every high school student. That is enough money to improve in the educational experience of our students and the working conditions of our high school teachers. 

2. This money will not be wasted on high paid central office positions. By law, at least 90% of the money goes to school site budgets. 
3. This is not a once size fits all top down reform initiative. Every high school gets to develop its own plan for the use of the funds. 
4. Fights the narrow test score obsession dominating our national conversation about school reform. Schools will need to demonstrate that their use of these funds contributes to higher and more equitable graduation rates and post secondary enrollment rates, not changes in test scores. These are much more holistic ways of assessing high schools are truly meeting students' needs or not. In this day and age, this is a rare chance to increase funding to our schools without signing onto the dominant narratives regarding testing. 


Money to fund programs and personnel for our high schools is critically needed.

But the Oakland Education Association should not support Measure N.

Measure N will provide the opportunity for some charter schools to receive money from the parcel tax.

But the Oakland Education Association should not oppose Measure N.

What faces OEA is the promotion of an opportunity to receive more revenue vs. telling the public that teachers reject more revenue because some of it may go to Oakland children attending charter schools.

To say yes might imply that the OEA no longer feels the charter school movement advances the privatization of our public school systems.

To say no might be perceived by the public at large that Oakland educators don't care about money to help students, only money to help raise salaries.

While the above seems a dizzying ping pong game of on the one hand, on the other hand, the implications of taking a support or oppose position has serious implications for the OEA as an organization and its standing in the community.


The only chance for defeating Measure N is for OEA to inform the public that the consequences of its passage will be the closing of District high schools.
Measure N, the Oakland School Board's 10 year parcel tax, will advance the privatization of Oakland's public school by providing multimillion-dollars that attract charter school operators to locate to Oakland where additional charters will lower the District's high school enrollment, pressuring the closing of District high schools, and resulting in the elimination of our members' jobs.
Currently there are almost as many OUSD authorized charter high schools (11) as OUSD high schools (15) that will be eligible to apply for a portion of the approximately $20 million Measure N parcel tax funding.
The School Board is saying to charters here are millions available if you locate in Oakland; we've shown you the money, now come and get it, charter operators.
 A likely outcome of Oakland School Board multimillion-dollar incentive for Oakland charter high school growth is, that over Measure N's ten years, the number of District high schools being funded by Measure N will shrink below the funding received by School Board authorized charter schools.