VIDEO: Hundreds of families left without childcare due to Oakland city workers strike

 

OAKLAND (KRON) — Hundreds of families have been left without childcare as Head Start employees are participating in the Oakland city workers strike.

But some parents are supporting the teachers despite having an interruption in their kids’ education.

Malcolm is one of the thousands of kids that went through the Head Start program.

He’s no longer at Head Start, but now, it’s his 3-year-old sister’s turn.

“Our first language is Spanish, and they learn English in there,” mother Yaqueline Martinez said. “She (began) Head Start in September, and right now, she (is) able to understand to speak English, No. 1 to 20, ABC, (letters), alphabet.”

For the past four days, Martinez has been keeping her kids at home and says that despite the inconvenience, she is supporting the teachers.

“I can’t explain in my English, but I’m very grateful about the Head Start program,” Martinez said. “Both of my two kids went there, and I’m so happy.”

The family’s income is about $30,000 a year, and they are not the only ones that depend on Head Start.

“Roughly 400 low-income families that rely on Head Start as their childcare every day,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

Oakland’s mayor has emphasized the impact of Head Start closures during the strike and said that although the city could not meet the union’s request, she would work on a solution for the children.

“It is horrific that so many, particularly vulnerable families in Oakland are being tremendously impacted by this strike,” Schaaf said.

The teachers have mixed feelings.

Many say they don’t regret the strike but are worried about the education.

“I personally, I feel bad,” Martinez said. “I feel like to cry because children need to be in school, and it’s been four days now that the kids are off school.”

Teachers, parents, and the mayor hope the kids can be back to school Monday, but there is no guarantee.

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