LA Unified Teachers on Strike

Teachers on Strike

via Wikimedia Commons

Teachers on Strike

The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest school district in the United States. The strike that will occur will be one of the thoughts people have about LAUSD. On Thursday, January 10, more than 30,000 members from United Teachers Los Angeles plan to go on strike.

Near the start of the 2018-19 school year, members from the Los Angeles teachers’ union authorized a strike— permitting a walkout while the union and school district settled on a new agreement. The strike was caused by years of frustration concerning oversized class sizes, salaries, and a shortage of school counselors and nurses. Over 30,000 staff members of the United Teachers Los Angeles will go on strike for the first time in 30 years.

Even after the absence of around 32,000 staff members, classes will continue in all schools. All 640,000 students in LAUSD are planned to be taught by approximately 2,000 reassigned administrators and 400 substitute teachers according to the school district. It is uncertain how this plan will work out.

Despite being on opposite sides of this strike, the teachers’ union, and the school district say that they want smaller class sizes, an increase in teacher salaries, as well as more counselors and nurses throughout its 1,087 schools. The question is how to fund these improvements. Members of the teachers’ union want LAUSD to withdraw from its $1.86 billion in reserve to fund the improvements. However, LAUSD says that their pockets aren’t as deep as suggested by the teachers’ union.

One cause of the strike was on the excess amount of mandated standardized tests given to students. Even teachers say that there are too many tests and much of them are unnecessary and given to individual students. When a teacher has to do individual exams, the teacher has to come up with work assignments for the students not taking the test that will be easy enough for students to work on to not interrupt the test and also be challenging to provide some value. Not only is it a waste of time for students, but it also costs the district and teachers a lot of money from buying a variety of standardized test and teachers paying for necessary materials.

Another thing is that class sizes are a big issue for teachers. It isn’t uncommon for a class to have more than 35 students. Even though the district claims they’ll reduce class sizes, the current contract gives them an excuse. All that’s needed is for LAUSD to claim financial hardship, which requires no proof, and make class sizes what they like. Class sizes also can prohibit teachers to do their jobs properly. For example, large classes prevent teachers from providing individual attention and pose a fire safety risk.

The LAUSD teacher strike has just begun as of Thursday, January 10. Parents, teachers, and students can only wait to find out when the strike will end and what will happen afterward.