As winter break ends and students are returning to class, teachers working in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school district, the second largest district in the nation, went on strike. Instead of leading lectures, they have picked up signs and megaphones to protest against the many issues within LAUSD. LA teachers are fed up, and so are we!
It’s been 30 years since the last teacher strike in LAUSD and on Monday about 31,000 union members walked out of the classroom and into the pouring rain to take a stand. So, what has led teachers to step out? Basically, teachers and public schools are undervalued in California. Even though we are the wealthiest state in the nation, California is 43rd out of 50 when it comes to spending on students. This is a civil rights issue! Why isn’t the state giving more into public schools?!
So, about this strike.
One of the major points teachers are protesting is to reduce class sizes. Right now, most teachers have classes of 40 students or more. THIS IS NOT AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS GOOD FOR LEARNING. And they complain about test scores. What do you expect with 40+ students in a classroom! Parents - Just imagine having to wrangle and teach 40 of your kids for 7 hours a day. Hiring more staff to lower class size is high on the list of demands. This one's for the kids.
The cost of living in LA has risen 27% since the last pay raise for teachers in 2008. With personal lives, bills, and classrooms to stock (Sacramento does not provide teachers with funds for classroom supplies), the current salary is not cutting it. To be better financially equipped for life and work, teachers are asking for a well deserved, 6% pay raise.
Finally, teachers are asking for more support staff like nurses, counsellors, and librarians. Right now nurses are coming into schools only one day a week. It's insane. How do you tell a kid to only scrape his/her knee on a Tuesday when the nurse is here. Libraries are only open a couple times a month - YES - A MONTH. These are all essential players to a good education and LAUSD and the state of California isn't holding up its end of the bargain. As they say, It takes a village, right?
It is so amazing that teachers are determined to win, but what about the students? On the first day of the strike less than a third of district students attended class. The absentees cost the district a loss of about 15 million dollars. We all know money talks, so let’s see see how long it takes for Sacramento to give teachers what they want.
As day two begins, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner addressed the media saying “The strike is clearly having a big impact on the Los Angeles Area. We need our teachers back in the classroom helping to inspire our students.” We couldn’t agree more. A lot of LA students are living in poverty and for some, school is a safe haven. When they attend school they have warmth, shelter, and a guaranteed meal.
At SameSide, we believe teachers deserve to be paid for their time and effort The pay raise is well overdue and when it comes to students providing them with proper resources should be a priority.
If you want to help LA teachers without getting your hair wet, text "ACT LA" to 52886 or visit. https://p2a.co/up3sM4p