Charter School Student Reflects on the Oakland Teacher Strike

by Eli Berrick
Also Featured on KCBS

Charter School Student Reflects on the Oakland Teacher Strike

by Eli Berrick
Also Featured on KCBS
03.10.19
Illustration: Mai Tran
03.10.19

I’m a junior at an Oakland charter school. I feel like I’m getting a great education. But during the Oakland teachers’ strike, I began worrying that my education is coming at the expense of others.

The Oakland teachers’ strike ended last week, but not all of the issues are resolved. Public school teachers are still complaining that money is being diverted from public schools to charters.

In fact, during the strike, I was playing basketball with some friends from Oakland Tech. One of them came to me and said, “Thanks, man. We’re out of school for the teachers’ strike, and it’s because of you and your charter school!”

Obviously it was a joke, but to many people, there’s nothing funny about it. There’s real anger at the charter school system. It’s been widely reported that charter schools cost Oakland public schools $57 million dollars a year. It occurred to me that my access to a good education might be keeping others from one.

I wish it wasn’t framed like this: charter school versus public school, with only so much money to go around. In theory, a free and decent education should be a right for all. But it’s not that simple.

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