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    AIPCS Vandalized During Oakland Teacher Strike

    Yesterday in Oakland during the one-day teacher strike sponsored by the teachers’ union (Oakland Education Association), a union member allegedly vandalized property at American Indian Public Charter School (the school where I used to teach for Dr. Ben Chavis and which formed the basis for Crazy Like a Fox).

    AIPCS is a non-unionized charter school that did not participate in the strike and decided to educate its students instead. As a result, AIPCS staff and students started their school day with spray-painted graffiti that said “strike”, gates that had been glued shut, and littered leaflets that said “Chinese Students + High Stakes Tests = High API.” Regarding the leaflets, all students of all ethnic groups perform well at AIPCS. Note that last year, the science scores for black students were higher than those of Asian students.

    A man wearing a bright green shirt (the color worn by the striking OEA teachers) was spotted by the school in the early morning by a nearby resident who scared him off.

    Here’s a description of the incident from Oakbook:

    “Teachers at American Indian Public Charter School in the Laurel District arrived to work Thursday morning to find that someone had spray painted the word ‘strike’ on the school’s sign and on the pavement in front of the school. Someone had also filled the school’s padlocks with glue, and littered the campus with leaflets bearing the equation: ‘Chinese Students + High Stakes Tests = High API.’

    “Sopath Mey, the middle school’s principal, said that the disruption to the school’s morning routine was particularly inconvenient Thursday because the school was taking care of 40 extra students, the younger siblings of American Indian students whose parents couldn’t afford to take a day off work during the Oakland teacher’s strike. A neighbor chased away someone suspected of vandalizing the school at around 6 Thursday morning.

    “The teachers at AIPCS are not unionized and weren’t striking Thursday. The middle school posts some of the highest test scores in the state. Last year, AIPCS boasted an Academic Performance Index (API) of 977. AIPCS has long drawn the ire of charter school opponents who claim that charter schools sap students and money from the traditional public school system.”

    There’s more info at Oakland Tribune reporter Katy Murphy’s blog, including kooky comments from OEA members who need to log more staff development hours in rational thought (i.e. “It is possible that the glue and graffiti was put there by somebody hoping to discredit the union.” And the reasonable probability of that scenario is?)

    And more in the San Francisco Chronicle about the “successful” strike. Here are some excerpts with the link below:

    “District officials, faced with an $85 million budget shortfall over the next two years, reiterated once again Thursday that they can’t afford to give the teachers pay raises.

    ” ‘I think we all agree our teachers need a pay increase,’ said Brad Stam, chief academic officer for the district. ‘But right now, we can’t afford one. We don’t want to bankrupt the district to do it and go back under state control…’”

    “At Edna Brewer Middle School on 13th Avenue in the Glenview neighborhood, all 40 teachers were on the picket line, chanting, ‘Scabs go home,’ and pounding drums and cowbells…”

    “One emergency substitute was surrounded by strikers and was forced to push through the line of striking teachers to get inside. Of the school’s 700 students, about 40 came to class, said special education teacher Mark Airgood.”

    Don’t forget that most public school funding comes from Average Daily Attendance money, so having students stay home from school decreases revenues for Oakland Unified School District, which in turn makes it all the more difficult to issue pay raises to teachers.

    “Another 600 Oakland schoolchildren lined up for a $5 double feature of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and ‘Oceans’ with free popcorn offered at the Grand Lake Theater. Owner Allen Michaan held a special screening in support of the teachers’ strike.

    “He normally doesn’t offer the deal until summer.

    ” ‘We’re shocked by how many people showed up,’ Michaan said. ‘We weren’t ready for it.’”

    At least someone expressed some common sense:

    ” ‘To ask for money when California is on the brink of collapse is crazy,’ said the middle school worker, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid animosity at his school. ‘We could all use a pay raise, but if you give the teachers a raise, then the district will have to cut jobs.’”


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