Oakland using Craigslist to recruit replacement teachers

March 19, 2010 10:58:04 AM PDT
The Oakland Unified School District is turning to one of the world's most popular websites in hopes of protecting themselves from a looming strike. The district is looking to hire more than 2,000 teachers in a hurry, but may only be hiring them for one day.

It's a posting on Craigslist that for now is just a potential, one-day opportunity, but if the planned one-day strike turns longer, then the temporary job offers from the Oakland Unified School District could be extended. But any out-of-work teachers are going to need some determination to cross a picket line.

The district posted an ad on Craigslist offering $300 a day for "emergency temporary teachers." It's a backup plan, in case its teachers go through with a threatened one-day strike April 22nd. Up to 2,500 substitutes may be hired if teachers walk off the job.

The Oakland Education Association wants to put pressure on the district because it's been working without a contract since July 2008. Negotiations have been stalling -- at issue are wages and class sizes. A union spokesman calls the Craigslist job ad a frightening move.

"These people are for all intensive purposes, people who may or may not have passed the California Basic Educational Skills Test. This is a test that is at 8th grade level. These are the people who are going to be charged with being in the classroom on the day that we go out. We think it's bad for the kids, we think it is bad for this community, but it's not a shock that the district would do this," said Oakland Education Assn. Manny Lopez.

Officials plan to interview emergency replacement teachers next Monday and Wednesday. While the district is still hoping for a resolution with the union, it says it must plan, in case of a longer-term work stoppage.

In a statement to ABC7 News, the Oakland Unified School District said it "has to be practical when preparing to find qualified teachers to work in the event of a strike."

It expects the process of finding 2,500 replacements to take a long time, which is why interviews will begin a month before the possible one-day strike.


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