This morning, the teachers and their strike supporters began their day-long vigils in front of the local schools. We stopped by Montclair and Thornhill Elementary schools to ask how things were going.
For all intents and purposes, the hills schools were closed today. While the strikers couldn’t confirm precise counts, they estimated between 20-40 kids at each school. We heard similar statistics from Joaquin Miller Elementary as well as Montera Middle School.
Here’s a group of strikers standing in front of Montclair School, around 11am or so. Perhaps half of the drivers honked as they passed by, on busy and highly-visible Mountain Blvd.
Over at Thornhill School, there were at least a dozen strikers and supporters actively chanting during commuter hours. By late morning, drivers continued slowing down and shouting to the sign-holders.
As you know, there are very tight relationships among parents, teachers and principals at our local schools. Quite recently, Montclair and Thornhill were awarded 2010 California Distinguished School Awards. Given to fewer than ten percent of all California school, these awards are based on top parental satisfaction and academic performance index (API) scores.
No one is really winning here. Interestingly, no one standing outside the mostly-shuttered schools today was chanting about raises. When we spoke with the picketers, they brought up issues related to crowded classrooms – plus the associated stresses on kids and teachers.
Here in the hills, everyone is taking the strike day in stride. Local parents are accommodating the one-day strike, and seem to be out and about with their kids. We know the discussions will continue with Oakland Unified and there are tough decisions ahead.