East Bay Featured Oakland Unified School District Teacher Shortage Travel Unsorted

As teachers threaten to strike, Oakland Unified looks to higher teacher pay to improve student learning

As teachers threaten to strike, Oakland Unified looks to higher teacher pay to improve student learning
Theresa Harrington/EdSource Immediately

Oakland Worldwide Excessive Faculty teachers (l-r) Rafael Silva and Tygue Luecke rally for a brand new union contract in Oakland Unified on Nov. 30, 2018.

As Oakland Unified faces a attainable teachers’ strike and braces for deep price range cuts for the 2019-20 faculty yr, its leaders are asking themselves: “Which expenditures would give us the greatest academic returns on our investments?”

Their reply: Growing teacher pay might stem turnover and assist college students. This technique by district leaders comes amid rising recognition that paying teachers higher salaries is immediately associated to enhancing the schooling outcomes of their college students. 

Oakland loses about 300 teachers yearly. Its teacher retention fee dropped from 82 % in 2011-12 to 80 % in 2015-16, district knowledge present, which is about 7 proportion factors decrease than statewide averages.

Over the identical interval, the typical teacher retention fee in districts statewide dropped from 90 to 88 %, in accordance to a current report on teacher shortages produced by the Learning Coverage Institute as a part of the Getting Down to Details II analysis undertaking, which examined quite a few challenges dealing with California schooling.

Just like the Oakland knowledge, these charges embrace teachers who moved to one other district, retired or switched professions.

Whereas teacher turnover has lengthy been an issue for Oakland, it has develop into acute this yr as a result of the district should make tens of millions of dollars in cuts to keep away from a deficit price range, which might embrace closing as many as 24 faculties over the subsequent 5 years. On the similar time, the district is locked in tense contract negotiations with its teachers, who’ve been working with no contract since July 1, 2017 and are demanding a wage hike. Teachers have turn out to be more and more vocal this yr with protests round faculties and in downtown Oakland. A strike might happen later this month.

Oakland is poised to comply with within the footsteps of Los Angeles teachers, who’re anticipated to begin putting on Monday.


Teachers in Oakland gearing up for attainable strike

The California Teachers Affiliation and teachers from different districts joined Oakland teachers in supporting Los Angeles teachers throughout a statewide “Red for Ed” rally on Saturday looking for extra funding for public faculties.

CTA Pres @EricHeins and Sec Treasurer @teachergoldberg be a part of @OaklandEA Pres @keithdashawn and over 2,000 educators and supporters in Oakland in the present day for #RedForEd rally for public faculties! We won’t cease preventing for the faculties our college students deserve! ?✊ pic.twitter.com/6U3VMXdrY8

— California Teachers Affiliation (@WeAreCTA) January 12, 2019

“We don’t want to strike, but we need to let them know that we need a fair contract,” stated Robert Smith, an Oakland Excessive artwork teacher who was certainly one of about 100 teachers and college students who participated in a current walkout final month that was not sanctioned by the union. “We want equal pay compared to other districts in Alameda County.”

Kyla Johnson-Trammell, superintendent of Oakland Unified, advised EdSource that the district is dedicated to offering teachers with raises, however have to be cautious not to promise greater than it could actually afford.

“Teacher compensation is definitely a high priority for the district, despite our financial challenges,” she stated. “We need to pay our teachers more.”

Theresa Harrington/EdSource Immediately

Oakland Unified Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell, proper, speaks to the varsity board concerning the district’s price range on Dec. 12, 2018.

Johnson-Trammell and many Oakland faculty board members see the district’s price range disaster as a chance to prioritize spending on enhancing student achievement. Student efficiency on the Smarter Balanced standardized exams in math and English Language improved barely in 2018 however nonetheless lags statewide averages. One of the simplest ways to assist student learning, a number of board members say, is to help teachers with pay raises, mentoring for brand spanking new teachers and different classroom helps. 

“One of the biggest challenges we have as a district is the high amount of turnover and the impact it has on everything we do,” stated faculty board member Shanthi Gonzales, chairwoman of the district’s committee that really helpful teacher pay raises to the board in November. “Making sure that we can settle our (teachers’ union) contract is a critical, ongoing priority.”

The union — which is pushing for a 12 % wage improve over three years and smaller class sizes — utterly agrees that decreasing teacher turnover will assist student learning. The district has provided a 5 % pay increase over three years.

“The reality is we have schools that have two-thirds new teachers,” stated Ismael Armendariz, a particular schooling teacher and officer within the teachers’ union, Oakland Schooling Affiliation. “There’s no way we’re ever going to close the achievement gap if we’re constantly losing teachers.”

In Oakland, the typical annual turnover fee amongst its 84 faculties from 2015-16 to 2016-17 was 29 %; 61 faculties had a teacher turnover price above 19.6 %, which is the typical amongst California’s city faculties throughout that point, in accordance to a research for the Getting Down to Information II undertaking issued by the Learning Coverage Institute, a analysis and coverage group in Palo Alto.

“High teacher turnover actually reduces student achievement when you have a lot of it,” stated Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the Learning Coverage Institute and the writer of two studies on teacher shortages in California for the Getting Down to Details II venture. She stated it may be very disruptive to college students to have new teachers coming right into a classroom with totally different attitudes and methods of working. 

Mountaineering salaries for Oakland Unified teachers would handle a serious concern amongst teachers, however wouldn’t clear up all the issues they face, in accordance to a current faculty district survey.

The survey of greater than 2,100 staff, together with 1,143, or 53 %, who have been teachers, requested: “How much do the following factors make you want to stay or leave?”

Sixty-seven % of the workers surveyed cited low salaries as they essential cause they would go away the district. That was intently adopted by housing costs (61 %), the shortage of satisfactory provides (61 %) and lack of job help (45 %).

Rafael Silva, a second-year teacher at Oakland Worldwide Excessive, stated he plans to transfer to New York on the finish of the varsity yr to take a place the place he’ll make about $20,000 a yr extra.

“I love my students,” he stated. “But, there’s no way I could stay in Oakland, especially with a family.”

“The sooner we can get away from talking about a $30 million deficit that may be solved by laying off teachers and classified employees, the sooner we can recruit. It’s hard to ask people to come here when they’re going to be asked to leave at the end of the year — not because of their competency, but because of our incompetency.” — John Inexperienced, CTA

Particular schooling teacher Amy Evje stated she left Oakland’s Grass Valley Elementary on the finish of final faculty yr as a result of she didn’t obtain the pay, help, coaching, assets or respect she felt she wanted from the district. She’s now educating in one other district that she declined to identify.

“I’m a really good teacher. I won an award my first year. But I knew if I kept teaching with no support and kids weren’t getting what they needed, I would burn out,” she stated.

Michael Lee, 26, stated he might handle with the low pay he acquired to train center faculty math and science as a result of he was renting a home in East Oakland with roommates, however he was annoyed by the shortage of assets at his faculty.

“I was like, ‘How am I supposed to teach? I don’t have paper. I don’t have a computer.’ Sometimes the printer didn’t work. It was such a big stress factor. I came in at 7 a.m. just to print out my materials before the line started packing in.”

As for wage, he figured he in all probability couldn’t keep in Oakland Unified for the long run, since he would wish extra money if he married and began a household.

Lee left final June to take a job engaged on faculty budgets for an academic monetary providers firm that works with constitution faculties.


Higher pay, smaller courses, housing perks in San Francisco Bay Space district’s plan to appeal to teachers

Oakland loses many teachers to neighboring districts the place many supply higher salaries.

Rising residence costs have prompted another close by districts comparable to West Contra Costa Unified to give teachers vital raises, as they compete for teachers in Oakland Unified and different elements of the state. The districts have comparable beginning salaries: $46,570 in Oakland and $46,360 in West Contra Costa. The typical teacher’s wage in West Contra Costa is $70,833 and the highest wage is $94,500. In Oakland, the typical is $63,149 and the highest wage is $83,724, in accordance to state knowledge.

In 2018, Oakland had the second-lowest common wage amongst 107 districts in six Bay Space counties and 15th-lowest for its entry-level teacher’s wage. It ranked third from the underside for its wage of $64,124 for teachers with 10 years of expertise and a further 60 models of instructional credit and 4th from the underside for its prime wage.

It’s more durable for districts to recruit and retain teachers if salaries in surrounding districts are higher, Darling-Hammond stated. This contributes to districts like Oakland hiring teachers who aren’t absolutely credentialed and who have a tendency to depart at charges which might be two or 3 times higher than absolutely ready teachers, she added.

Darling-Hammond stated increasing teacher residency packages that permit those that are looking for credentials to work in district lecture rooms might increase retention for these teachers to charges of 80 to 90 % 4 or 5 years later. Such packages construct on the medical residency mannequin to supply an alternate pathway to these in search of teacher certification by primarily working as apprentices alongside skilled teachers for an educational yr. In flip, teachers commit to train within the district for 3 to 4 years past the residency. 

Learning Coverage Institute analysis exhibits districts can retain extra teachers with mentors and cash for testing, charges and tuition associated to acquiring a educating credential; management alternatives for teachers and extra help to those that haven’t but accomplished their credentials. These are among the many so-called “teacher pipeline” packages to put together employees to turn into licensed.

Oakland Unified provides a number of such packages and plans to add others funded by outdoors grants.

However these efforts are long-term methods. The board may have to determine a lot sooner which district packages or positions to minimize if it follows by means of on its dedication to improve teacher salaries.


Teachers in Oakland amongst others pushing for pay raises from California districts in fiscal disaster

John Inexperienced, a California Teachers Affiliation consultant on the teachers’ union bargaining staff, stated the district’s lack of ability to successfully handle its funds, together with information reviews about future layoffs and uncompetitive pay, harm recruiting and retention.

“The sooner we can get away from talking about a $30 million deficit that may be solved by laying off teachers and classified employees, the sooner we can recruit,” he stated. “It’s hard to ask people to come here when they’re going to be asked to leave at the end of the year — not because of their competency, but because of our incompetency.”

Editor’s Word: As a particular challenge, EdSource is monitoring developments this yr within the Oakland Unified and West Contra Costa Unified Faculty Districts as a method to illustrate a few of the most pressing challenges dealing with many city districts in California. West Contra Costa Unified consists of Richmond, El Cerrito and a number of other different East Bay communities.

Click on right here for interactive chart on 2017-18 teacher salaries by expertise degree in six counties within the Bay Space


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