Some Background information about Article 12 from the OEA FAQ’s:
Article 12 of the OEA-OUSD contract covers the rules for filling vacancies and for assigning teachers.
Under the current Article 12 language in the contract, Members who are involuntarily transferred by administration, returning from leave, or consolidated due to position reductions or school closures, and who are qualified for a vacancy by credential and experience, are to be placed in a vacancy for which they have applied in order of seniority (contrary to media-hype, they CANNOT however bump less senior teachers out of positions they currently hold). These vacancies are not open to voluntary transfers or external applicants until this process is completed. Members at sites being closed or restructured stay with their students, and are reassigned by seniority only to the extent required by enrollment reductions.
OUSD is proposing the following major changes to Article 12:
- All bargaining unit members reassigned after consolidation, involuntary transfer, or extended leave would compete for positions with applicants from outside of the district.
- Members at schools being closed or restructured would no longer remain with their students at the new school (even a non-charter, district school), and could be reassigned without regard for seniority or status as a current employee.
- Seniority would no longer play any role in placement or transfer rights.
- Any member affected by consolidation, returning from leave, or involuntarily transferred could be reassigned as a substitute, curriculum developer, team teacher, or to group instruction/individual intervention for the following year or years.
Who are the forces pushing the proposed changes to Article 12?
- ANTWAN WILSON’S SCHOOL DISTRICT (The same superintendent who in Denver, CO was very involved in a wave of school “turnarounds” where targeted schools, all in poor black & brown communities, were either privatized or had their entire teacher staff replaced by Teach for America fellows, college student “tutoring fellows” and retired teachers (edweek.org). Also the same superintendent who just announced plans to turnaround Fremont, McClymonds, Castlemont, Frick and Brookfield):
“We must empower our schools by giving them the flexibility to design programs that best meet the needs of the students they serve. This includes the way in which we select teachers and staff. I want to ensure that every adult working on behalf of Oakland students shares the vision of the school and its community. Ideally, we will not place staff at schools where their values don’t align with those of the school or the students’ needs. This approach allows for a collaborative school culture and governance model that encourages parent engagement and staff unity while driving improved student achievement.”
- GO PUBLIC SCHOOLS (under the same leadership that has consistently supported charter school growth, accepted school closings, supported the accelerated TSA anti-worker rights proposal which wreaked havoc on the 3 high schools now being targeted for “turnaround,” and celebrated the selection of Antwan Wilson as our new superintendent last spring):
“Teachers have the largest impact on student learning of any in-school factor. Giving teachers, parents, and principals more power to decide who teaches in their schools is an important first step in ensuring that every student in Oakland has an effective teacher.”
Antwan Wilson and GO want the public to believe that teachers’ union-protected worker rights are the main barriers to community control of schools. Is community control what this is really about?
No. While Wilson talks “collaborative school governance”, he is actively pushing a top-down undemocratic process for school turnarounds of the 5 flatland schools (and GO Public Schools has yet to speak out against it). Most of the schools had no idea their schools were being targeted until one day before the district announced its plans publicly in December. Given the number of interested charter school already coming to the table, we might wonder if the district kept the charters in the dark as long as they did the students, parents and teachers who would be so deeply impacted by this initiative. If community control of schools was really Wilson’s number one priority, he would have approached struggling schools with an asset-based, well-resourced and community leadership-oriented model for positive student/parent/teacher-led transformation of our schools. Rather, Wilson is using Article 12 to pit parents and teachers against each other at a time when we should be united against his efforts to privatize our district.