Last Updated Mar 1, 2019 6:52 PM EST
Oakland, Calif. — Public school teachers in Oakland, California reached a tentative new agreement Friday to end an eight day strike. Theirs was the latest walkout by teachers across the country over low wages and conditions in and out of the classroom.
Oakland teachers have demanded a wage they can live on. One reason why: special education teacher Racquel Ward-Zamora, her wife and two dogs live in a van.
"I'm an educated woman with a master's degree. It shouldn't be the situation we're in and I don't make enough money," she said.
The couple uses a local gym to shower. It beats the rent for a one bedroom apartment, which averages just under $3,000 a month. That would eat up more than half of racquel's nearly $60,000 yearly salary.
The tentative agreement would give teachers an 11 percent pay raise over the next four years and a three percent bonus.
Oakland is the latest in more than 20 teacher strikes across the country in the last year. With states like, and Kentucky making similar demands for higher pay, smaller class sizes, and more counselors.
"I feel like we don't value our teachers enough," Ward-Zamora said. "I feel like it's across the country but even more so in Oakland. We're the lowest paid teachers in the bay area, it doesn't make sense."
Many are leaving, including 530 teachers last year. The district has some of the lowest teacher retention rates in the country.
While she's out on the lines, Ward-Zamora hopes to teach others a lesson on how this pay dispute is hitting home.