Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Oakland Tech Students and their Desire for Democracy

Imagine if you could vote your teachers off the staff. Just imagine. It seems like the administration would never allow that to happen, right? But, what if? What if students at Oakland Tech participated in elections where students could vote whether they thought teachers should keep their positions or be let go, and if 95% of students voted for the teacher to be let loose then the teacher would be let go. Sounds a little similar to a democracy, right? 

Democracy is a form of government where the power is vested in the people. Democracy involves citizens having the ability to participate in decision making processes, typically through voting in free and fair elections. Students in Oakland have likely grown up hearing the praises of democracy, but most of us have yet to participate in it. Obviously, most students at Tech are not old enough to vote in federal or state elections. More importantly, most students at Tech did not participate in the elections of our school or district board. This means that students at Oakland Tech are not experiencing democracy, because we did not elect the people who make decisions and therefore the power is not invested in us students.

But Tech students still come across issues with our society every day, and begging OUSD for changes only goes so far. As students at Tech continue to learn about the merits and pros of democracy, they increasingly see the appeal. So that raises the question: could there be democracy at Oakland Tech? 

One specific problem some students face that could be solved with a democracy is the problem of ineffective teachers (this sentence sounds so bad). We’re not talking about those teachers that give way more homework that they should, or teachers who dislike you for no apparent reason. We’re talking about people who were not meant to be teachers, and who need to go. I’m sure you can think of a few. Our proposed solution, as juniors at Tech, is to implement an aspect of democracy: voting! What if every student was given a ballot, where they write each of their teachers’ names with either a “stay” or a “go” next to the name(this sentence sounds bad, als new words for stay and go?). The votes would be tallied up and teachers with a 95% “go” rate would have to go. This would ensure that those good teachers who have low popularity due to their extreme work loads would be safe, because if they really are good teachers then 6% or more of their students would vote for them to stay. While reviewing 2,000 ballots seems like a lot of work, there are at least 5 juniors at Tech who would be happy to do it. We would also be fact checking to ensure that teachers only get voted by students they have, to keep the representation accurate and democracy fair. 

Now, those reading this article may be shaking their heads thinking the administration would never approve of this, we have come up with a few modifications that might make our democracy a little more plausible. Instead of having the teachers who were voted by at least 95% to immediately part ways with Tech, they could be referred to the board of OUSD for a serious evaluation. Or, all the students who voted for them to go could write feedback and the teacher would be forced to read the feedback and come up with a plan along with the administration to implement the feedback.

Would any teacher actually get 95% “go”s? We think so, but we couldn’t know for certain unless we actually implemented this system and sent out the ballots. So we should actually implement this system and send out the ballots.

The point is, Oakland Tech students are not experiencing the democracy we deserve.  So Oakland Tech students should be able to vote their teachers off, and experience a real democracy!

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