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News Update

Tony Thurmond will mediate negotiations between Oakland teachers and the district

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will formally mediate the negotiations to end the teacher strike that began this morning in Oakland Unified, according to officials at the California Department of Education.

Oakland Unified and the Oakland Education Association, its teachers union, have been negotiating a new three-year contract since October. The teachers union is asking for pay raises and a list of what the union describes as “common good” items, such as improved environmental health in classrooms, increased school safety and culturally relevant curriculum.

Thurmond and a team from the California Department of Education informally attempted to broker an agreement during a visit to Oakland Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday morning Thurmond offered to officially mediate discussions with both parties, by afternoon they agreed, according to CDE officials.

“We are disappointed that the parties could not find an agreement in time to avert a strike,” he said in a prepared statement. “We observed how hard both sides worked and will start immediately working with the parties in a formal mediation capacity. Our goal is to help the parties reach an agreement and to end the strike so that students can return to class as quickly as possible.”

Thurmond successfully mediated a similar strike in Oakland in 2019, according to the news release.