As the Sacramento City Teachers Association strikes against what it alleges are unfair labor practices, students are frustrated by a school district that has seemingly lost interest in student needs.
Ask a student and they are quick to point out inequities within the walls of C.K. McClatchy High School. They speak about a lack of counselors, a school nurse only on campus twice a week and overcrowded classrooms. Teachers are striking to address these complaints, pushing for money found in healthcare savings to go directly to student needs. As the district that recently had a budget surplus crawls toward a state takeover, students do not turn a blind eye.
The district has repeatedly implied that what the teachers are asking for is bad for students. The district seems to push a false narrative that this strike revolves solely around teacher pay raises. In reality, teachers are asking for the same improvements to our schools that their students are asking for. Salary schedule changes that allow teachers to make more in a shorter time are a far second.
In a statement, the district claimed, “Our students do not deserve to be put through the hardships that will be caused by this strike.” Meanwhile, students understand that the real hurt we are subject to is a bankrupt district bound for a state takeover that will ultimately result in even worse learning conditions.
In the volatile rhetoric between the union and district, student voices have been lost in the fray. We are often spoken for, without consideration for our thoughts. But ultimately, these arguments are centered around our needs and our futures.
Among students there is resounding support for educators and a sense of skepticism toward the district.
“I think that the district ... has started being really sketchy, especially in the way it’s treating its teachers and its students, and I think the teachers wouldn’t strike for no good reason,” said McClatchy senior Kat Lu.
The district has taken to releasing statements meant to appear as calls for unity. These statements, however, continually frame teachers as villains for students and parents alike to see.
This week, the district accused the union of making “dishonest statements” about district leaders. The statement they released focused on social media feuds and an incident in which union members laughed after mediators put an end to a meeting. Petty details are being blown up and pinned on teachers as examples of their supposed villainy.
This is the state of affairs inside SCUSD. Students must watch as our role models are targeted by our district in public. These are the people meant to protect and represent our needs. The district has clouded the real purpose for this strike and in the process has forgone what matters: us.
Riley Burke is a senior at C.K. McClatchy High School and is the editor-in-chief of the school’s student newspaper, The Prospector. Josie Powell is a senior at C.K. McClatchy High School and is the online, copy and news editor for The Prospector.