Protesting Teachers Stand Their Ground Against San Leandro Cops

Teachers from San Lorenzo and San Leandro Unified School Districts keep calm and carry on with "grade-in"after a brief brush with the cops at Bayfair Mall.

Third grade teacher Alberto Nodal was in the middle of lesson plans for next year when he got the news that San Leandro police were en route to clear him from his spot near the food court at Bayfair Mall.

 Truth be told, he was a little nervous about it. 

"I'm really not political," he said. 

Nodal, who teaches at Colonial Acres Elementary School in Cherryland, was one of about 50 teachers from San Lorenzo and San Leandro Unified School Districts who filled the tables near Panda Express to grade papers in silent protest of Sacramento's stalled budget process and the cuts that have slammed California's K-12 education system in recent years. 

Similar "grade-in" protests have been called at malls from Marin to Fremont as part of a statewide that will culminate with a rally in San Francisco Friday. The purpose of Tuesday's activity was to show the work that teachers put in outside the classroom, organizers said. 

Unfortunately for this crowd, their comparatively sedate activities—correcting math worksheets and typing up lesson plans—were too much for Bayfair security personnel, who threatened to have the group cited for trespassing and forcibly removed. 

But after several terse exchanges, phone calls to lawyers and Channel 5, San Leandro police determined that the teachers were within their rights as patrons of the food-court (most had bought sodas and snacks).

Nodal went back to his math books. 

Check back with Patch later this week for more in-depth coverage of education cuts and local teachers' participation in the statewide Week of Action. 

David May 12, 2011 at 03:58 AM
You couldn't have done that on a weekend, so as in order to "spare the children"? Again, your actions belie your motivations. Admit you just want more money. Then like adults, we can have the conversation about whether you earned it. You see, in the normal, non-government employee world, the conversation goes: "Boss, I made the firm $XXX,XXX, how about my commission?" or "Boss, I invented ABC molecule and it's in clinical trials, how about some recognition (i.e. pay)?" You can go with "Taxpayer, I improved student outcomes..." Did you?
David May 12, 2011 at 04:03 AM
Didn't teach you about electricity or the steam engine in public schools, eh? Let's stop with the silly time on the greatest invention. Remind me, where was Newton educated? Or Aristotle? Copernicus? Lord Kelvin? Einstein? Only in your dreams are top salaries, and top 10-20% salaries with benefits exceeding 90% of private workers "modest."
David May 12, 2011 at 04:05 AM
If you don't think that everyone with an average intelligence can be taught to be literate and do simple math, why are you a teacher?
Craig Williams May 12, 2011 at 04:17 AM
David the corporations are not interested in the U.S. anymore so people will gravitate toward the public sector. This has been going on for 40 years. Teachers didn't buy the corporate "set of ideas" that have turned up bankrupt . On average Americans have not had a raise in 40 years.So the real question is , are we on a race to the bottom except for the top 1 percent ?In 1970 the top 1 percent controlled 10 percent of the wealth ,now its 23 percent.
Sonja Sharp May 12, 2011 at 05:20 AM
Hi All, If you're curious about the nuances of SLzUSD's school performance, including academic performance at Colonial Acres, I would strongly suggest you check out our many stories on the district, including our ongoing series on Program Improvement. That would probably be a more productive place for this discussion, as the Grade-In was simply the local version of a statewide budget protest that went by quietly elsewhere and warranted an article mostly for having attracted police. Mr. Nodal was very generous to talk to Patch, and should in no way be singled out among the 50 or so teachers who also participated, or the scores who teach across both districts. To those who are distressed over how our schools are fairing, how teachers are compensated or how student achievement is measured, we both hear you and encourage you to continue that discussion in another forum.


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