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Back to school efforts under threat of strike in San Francisco

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Every school across the Bay Area starts the 2014-15 year at some point in the next week, and parents are scrambling to make sure their children are adequately supplied. Charities like Shiloh Church in Oakland offer help with events like their Back to School Bash and Health Fair Saturday, Aug. 16 while the United Educators of San Francisco tabulate a Thursday vote on whether to threaten a strike.

The son of two teachers and husband of a substitute teacher who voted on whether to have a strike vote, I will abstain from any opinions on the matter. The facts are that after dealing with wage freezes and furloughs, teachers want raises to include para-professionals (substitutes, janitors, security, etc.) worth a total of 21 percent over three years. The district is offering 8.5 percent.

Nothing would happen before school starts Monday, Aug. 18. Plenty of things can happen to waylay the strike, including voting not to. Many people back down when the prospect of lost income is truly on the line. The San Francisco Unified District should also be motivated to deal, as they would struggle to fill classrooms with substitutes unwilling to cross the picket lines.

Our public schools are not perfect, but they are the only option to truly educate some youth. Since other citizens receiving a good education benefits the society that Christianity espouses we should work to better, we should want those without better options to get their opportunities even if we do not have children attending public schools.

America is better with an educated public, and that goal is best served in San Francisco with a deal between the district and teachers being reached. We can all pray for agreement—in San Francisco, CA as well as Ferguson, MO and the Middle East. In the meantime we can work on a local level—if you are not in Oakland to take part in Shiloh's event, no doubt there are student-support events in your area.

Note of disclosure: MJ Kasprzak is a deacon at Shiloh Church in Oakland, CA. This Sunday is his day to head porter—come say hello at the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. PDT services.

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