Oakland’s largest charter organization, Education for Change (EFC), voted to recognize a union at the last board meeting. I was there, and as a member of the Executive Committee I made the motion, which passed unanimously. This can be a good thing for our schools, staff, families, and the City. Especially if it leads to a truce in Oakland’s ongoing public school wars which have hurt the district, charter schools, and most importantly the Flatland children and families who are desperate for better schools.
The vast majority of families and school staff in the Flats really don’t care whether their public school is a charter or district school, they want a good place for their child or a good place to work. And they are constantly shifting between the public school sectors as opportunities present. Each year at EFC we get staff from the district and lose staff to OUSD and other districts. Each year kids come in from OUSD schools and go out to other OUSD schools. For families, just trying to make it, there is no public school war, there is war of attrition to find a good public school.
And imagine if all the money and energy that went into these fights was instead focused on getting the resources students need and providing them the support they deserve. I have written before about how unionized charters can be good for the schools, union and children. And as Oakland and the state has an increasing number of unionized schools, will there be a détente?
The elephants have been fighting for too long in Oakland and there is a lot of trampled grass. It’s well past time that we move the elephants out of the frame and focus on the grass for a change.