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Teachers in Oakland, California to return to the classroom after seven-day strike

Striking educators tentatively secured wage increases and a pledge from the city to reverse its plans to shutter two dozen schools.

OAKLAND, CA - FEB. 26: Teachers, students and supporters march down International Boulevard towards a rally at Roots International Academy in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. This is the fourth day of their strike. (Photo by Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - FEB. 26: Teachers, students and supporters march down International Boulevard towards a rally at Roots International Academy in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. This is the fourth day of their strike. (Photo by Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

Teachers in Oakland, California have reached a tentative deal after seven-day strike, securing salary increases and a pledge from administrators that some two dozen schools set to close will remain open.

“This is a historic contract with a win in every major proposal we made, that moves us toward a win for the schools Oakland students deserve,” the Oakland Education Association said in a statement on Friday. “You united the community behind the fight for public education in Oakland and YOU WON.”

Thousands of educators went on strike late last month, calling for a greater investment in schools. The teachers’ union had been working without a contract since July 2017.

Teacher salaries in Oakland range between $46,750 and $83,724 per year, according to school district data — the lowest pay in Alameda County, the union told the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Upon ratification, the tentative agreement secures an 11 percent salary increase over four years in addition to a three percent bonus, more staff support, a reduction in class size, and a commitment from officials to introduce a resolution that calls for a charter school moratorium. A vote on the contract is expected sometime this weekend.

Oakland teachers are just the latest to educators to strike. Historic strikes recently concluded in Denver and Los Angeles, after workers secured higher wages.

Teachers nationwide are underpaid and their schools are underfunded — and this negatively impacts students, since research shows that higher wages attract and keep better teachers.

An extensive study in Texas, found a 10 percent salary increase led to a notable drop in teacher turnover. Another study showed that in communities where there is greater school spending, including on teacher pay, students graduate from high school at higher rates. The Economic Policy Institute, in 2016 recommended collective bargaining as a way to improve remuneration for educators.