CLASSROOM STRUGGLE

Strategy and Analysis to Defend and Transform Public Education

Connecting the dots between Antwan Wilson’s push for Privatization & OUSD’s focus on Article 12 at the Bargaining Table

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?

  1. 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.”

  1. 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.

As teachers we value our union-protected worker rights and believe that school communities (including students, parents, teachers and staff) need the power and resources to implement the visions we have for our schools. We know how important it is to staunchly defend our rights both because we believe all workers should have these rights and because we know that teacher stability is perhaps the biggest determinant of the strength of our schools and understand that attacks on our transfer rights work to undermine stability. At the same time, we know that the current transfer process is flawed and doesn’t work for teachers or for school communities. As a union we need to develop our own vision for a teacher transfer process that protects our worker rights AND facilitates real community decision-making in staffing and other school site issues.  We should refuse to bargain on Article 12 during this round of contract negotiations (which is totally within our legal rights) and then take the time to develop our own proposal to bring the table during the next round of bargaining.

What is missing from GO Public School’s infographic on Article 12?

GO_TeacherTransfers.vs7.jpg

GO released the above infographic the week before the 1/13/15 OEA forum on this issue. GO is a very well resourced organization (they receive substantial funding from Dreyer’s Ice Cream’s family foundation which also funds the California Charter School Association and many Oakland charter schools, see http://www.rogersfoundation.org/program-areas/oakland-education-grantees), and they use that funding to make very nice graphics like this one. While this is a useful visualization of the district’s proposed changes, there are some key details missing:

  • A large number of teachers  forced into the process of having to apply for teaching jobs after years of teaching in OUSD, will also apply to neighboring school districts where salaries and conditions are better and where teacher’s rights are not under attack. This will result in Oakland losing many experienced teachers and will only increase teacher instability and inexperience in a district where less than 1 out of 4 teachers have taught in Oakland for more than 5 years.
  • There is no reason to believe that the personnel committees will be any more democratically selected or run than the School Site Councils (SSC) currently are, which are usually made up of teachers, parents and students chosen by the principal and act as rubber stamp committees where principals’ proposals are rarely questioned. In fact, given that most hiring takes place over the summer, we can expect that these personnel committees will be even less democratically run than the SSC’s which meet during the school day and where teachers, parents and students actually get a vote (as opposed to this model where the principal has final say).
  • If the 5 school turnarounds are allowed to move forward, the vast majority of the teachers facing transfers this year will be teachers from these schools who, just having had their school shut down, will now have to face competing with each other for positions around the district.

 

What’s the connection between Article 12 and School Turnarounds?

Wilson needs Article 12 to move forward their plans to “turnaround” Frick, Brookfield, McCylmonds, Fremont & Castlemont. In fact we can assume that Wilson’s plans for school turnarounds is why the district pushed to reopen Article 12 for negotiation this fall, after not raising it as a negotiation issue when the district sunshined its initial offer last winter.

In Denver, school turnarounds primarily took two forms: schools were either converted to charter schools OR schools were kept public but all staff were laid-off or reassigned and those hired to replace them were not protected by the same contract rights as regular teachers (ala Accelerated TSA).

If OUSD turns these schools over to charter school management, we can expect layoffs as the number of teaching positions in the district are decreased. The proposed changes to Article 12  will allow the district to control who is reassigned to these vacancies. Without these changes to Article 12, reassignment will be based on seniority rights and the district will be sure to face criticism as schools across the district are destabilized.

If OUSD keeps these schools public but wants to push out the current teachers, the proposed changes to Article 12 will give the district the power to control what schools these teachers are displaced to, or if they are even offered teaching positions in the district at all. Without these changes to Article 12, displaced teachers will have power over where they get reassigned, including the right to follow or stay with their students

If we refuse to bargain on Article 12 (which is absolutely within our bargaining rights), OUSD will be really hard pressed to move forward their undemocratic turnarounds.

Defeat the attack on Article 12 and put a major blockade in Wilson’s plans for school turnarounds!

14 comments on “Connecting the dots between Antwan Wilson’s push for Privatization & OUSD’s focus on Article 12 at the Bargaining Table

  1. kathleen
    January 28, 2015

    And let’s not forget to connect the dots between the passage of Measure N only 3 months ago and the plan to privatize these 5 schools. How convenient! Charters can now swoop in and gather up the Measure N money.

  2. Sara Green
    January 30, 2015

    Can you tell me who wrote this article? I am a teacher in Oakland.

    • ClassroomStruggle
      February 10, 2015

      Hi Sara. I wrote the article, I’m an OEA teacher, but am kind of paranoid about sharing my name online because I’m not tenured. But would love to talk to you about the article! Where do you teach?

      • Teacher
        February 16, 2015

        Hi I would love to talk to you about this article and request that you write another.

      • ClassroomStruggle
        February 24, 2015

        Did you have a particular topic in mind you wanted us to write about?

  3. lubia sanchez
    February 4, 2015

    Thank you for elevating the discourse.

  4. Pingback: NAACP And GO Public Schools Imply That Oakland Students Are Not Civilized | Classroom Struggle

  5. Pingback: OUSD Teacher Contract Negotiations (and Cronyism at the Top?) | J.D. Moyer

  6. kzt123
    February 19, 2015

    Reblogged this on ousdparentsunited and commented:
    A teacher perspective on Article 12 and the “privatization” of 5 schools in Oakland

  7. Pingback: An OUSD teacher’s perspective on the link between Article 12 and the “privatization” of 5 schools in Oakland | ousdparentsunited

  8. JC, OUSD parent
    February 21, 2015

    Thank you for sharing, this is all news to me. If the writer or someone could answer the following I’d really appreciate the additional insight:

    What has been the impact on the students in Denver since the changes have been made?

    What do both sides anticipate for long and short term impacts to the majority Black and Latino students at the turnaround schools and for the majority white schools- who’s teachers are also aligned with Teach to Rule?

    • ClassroomStruggle
      February 24, 2015

      Hi JC,

      Great questions. We’re currently investigating Denver more. In a nutshell though the policies there have been disastrous. They have destroyed teacher seniority which as pushed out experienced and largely black teachers. There is a lawsuit pending from these teachers (including Wilson’s ex-dean of students at Montbello High) about being pushed out without due cause. This has caused enormous teacher turnover to the point that 56% (2,923) of its teachers left since May 2010. Further contributing to the unstability has been that charter schools have gone from fewer than 5 in 2005 to 53 in 2014-15. For all this info check out a blog called kaplanforkids.wordpress.com by Jeannie Kaplan, an ex-school board member in Denver. Furthermore, they also had a program there called the Call for Quality Schools where they invited the creation of new schools and takeovers of existing schools. In the first two rounds of the program, 12 of the 14 new schools were charters. So all of this destabilization has led to enormous inequalities and drops in achievement. According to Kaplan, the gap between low-income children and non-low-income children has increased. “The reading GAP UP 7 percentage points in 10 years to 36%, GAP UP 20 percentage points in math to 34%, GAP UP 9 percentage points in writing to 36%.” (see: https://kaplanforkids.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/you-cant-even-know-half-of-the-truth/). So the impact has not been good.

      So I think that frames the possible outcomes for long and short term impacts to majority Black and Latino students at the turnaround schools and all OUSD schools. That is what will happen if Supt. Wilson keeps attacking teachers instead of paying them a fair salary, opens up more and more public schools to becoming charter, and doesn’t implement meaningful and proven reforms such as lower class size, lower counselor caseloads, and hard caps on SPED caseloads. And if we don’t want that to happen we need to organize and let no other option be politically viable for Supt. Wilson and the board members.

      –N. Finch

    • Jacquelyn Armstrong
      January 25, 2016

      I have been an educator/administrator for over 20 years. I have worked in DPS public, charter and innovative schools. I am also well versed in the call to quality schools. I cannot confirm nor deny what the writer states concerning OUSD? However, the call to quality schools is a joke. Certain charter schools are highly thought of and as such, they simply copy and paste from one approved application to another. DPS is in cahoots with them so they are told about the mistakes and allowed to resubmit. Funny thing is they resubmit with ssame errors and are still approved. Their application mentions that they are seeking “young teachers.” When I first read the applications, my first thought was, “isn’t this discrimination against teachers who aren’t “young?”

      It is also true that the great divide is ever widening in Denver. A recent report on student discipline in Denver demonstrated that many of the Charter schools expel, suspend and overall discipline minority students disproportionately. I also tried to warn the powers that be that they were allowing these schools to expand too rapidly based on isolated incidents. Lo and behold, these same schools have demonstrated that they are not as successful in educating minority students. Makes sense to me because one size does NOT fit all.

      Yes, these schools are primarily located in lower socio-economic areas where the vast majority are minorities.

      I also know your new superintendent personally. All I have to say is knowledge is power.

  9. Concerned Parent
    February 26, 2015

    Although I appreciate this teacher’s point of view and her assertion that the current teacher transfer process is flawed, this article is full of conjecture and biased information.

    For instance, at the beginning of the article, you summarize OUSD’s Article 12 proposal by stating:

    “All bargaining unit members reassigned after consolidation, involuntary transfer, or extended leave would compete for positions with applicants from outside of the district.”

    That is not quite accurate. Yes they will indeed have to compete with other applicants from outside the district, but this is in addition to other OUSD Teachers WITHIN the district. So even if your summary didn’t change the facts substantially, it is not thorough and accurate. Summarizing it your way has a biased effect. There are many example of this type of coloring of the facts, which serves as a disservice to the reader. You also state that Antwan Wilson is “attacking teachers”. That is an unfortunate characterization and has no place in negotiations.

    And I mean that with all due respect, but with a hunger for unbiased facts. I’m a parent of 2 children in OUSD, and have little patience for exaggerated claims on both sides of this issue. Anyone wanting to learn more about this new superintendent and his success or failure in Denver, CO can easily google it. Relying on the information about him in this article is not wise and will lead to a skewed perception of the facts. Likewise this issue of teacher transfer rights, readers can easily google how different districts have managed these issues. And since we all want what’s best for our kids, we would want to choose the option which has a verifiable record of benefiting kids. This information is available and has been documented extensively. But, I don’t see any of that objective information in this article. Teachers who have no time to wade through mountains of documents pertaining to these negotiations rely heavily on their OEA reps and fellow teachers for information. If we have articles like this, it is a disservice to those teachers who might want the facts to reach their own conclusions.

    I understand the need to have job security during involuntary transfers, and to guard against unfair dismissals, but there is a legal structure to help guard against that which every other industry adheres to. I know of no other industry where seniority is the main qualifier for job placement. I want the teachers of my kids to have been held to the highest standard. Research shows that 1 year with a bad teachers cannot be made up by 4 subsequent good teachers. Bad teachers can really cause damage to a student which is hard to repair. Experience is but 1 factor in the many factors that make great teachers–I’ll take a new highly enthusiastic teacher over a 20 year veteran if I feel the newer teacher would teach better. I have had 2 of my kids’ teachers complain about the new technology they have to use, saying things like “I’m so bad with computers, my students have to teach me how to use it”. That’s absurd for an educator in 2015!

    As for the claim that changing article 12 will have a negative impact on the kids: I don’t like charter schools nor what they stand for, but they have a similar success rate as standard public schools. That’s right. And guess what? Most of them have NO seniority rights like the OEA is trying to preserve. So to say that changing article 12 will have a negative impact on our kids’ education is not based on fact. Please supply us with actual facts, and I will be more than happy to base my opinion on that. It seems more accurate to say that if article 12 stays in place, Teachers will retain the power to choose where they go, as is stated in this article. The decision is whether the Principle and School Community has that power, or the teachers themselves. I think teachers should be paid WAY more than OUSD is paying, say in the 70-90K neighborhood, but in exchange they have to be held to a very high standard which pressures them to perform at the top of their game, to adopt new technologies and to continue their development. If they loose enthusiasm, they shouldn’t be protected simply because they’ve been teaching for a longer period. They should feel the pressure to perform better or risk loosing their job. That’s just standard practice in any industry.

    Thank you.

    p.s. I am using an anonymous name because my kids have many different teachers and I don’t want them to suffer any consequences due to my opinion on this matter. I know their teachers would never do that, but this is just so you understand my anonymity.

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This entry was posted on January 17, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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