The demands from UTLA are rooted in what every parent, teacher and support professional wants for our kids: lower class size; more nurses, librarians and counselors; an end to the random searches of students, which disproportionately profile black and brown students; an end to unnecessary standardized testing; fair pay; and more charter school accountability. But despite these demands being common sense and supported by parents, the district has said no to everything.
UTLA members have dared to have high expectations—for their school system and the students it serves. We must make clear that parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, students and community allies are in this fight for public education in Los Angeles.
Walk-Ins – For the Public Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve
On Monday, Jan. 15, at schools and other work sites across America, parents, educators, students and community partners in the defense of public education will begin to stage walk-ins to demonstrate their solidarity with Los Angeles teachers who are fighting for a contract that will provide the conditions and resources their students need to learn and succeed.
Despite sitting on a reserve fund of nearly $2 billion, L.A. school officials have just said no to educators’ proposals to turn away from austerity policies that are starving the school system that Los Angeles children depend on for a fair chance to achieve and succeed.
Join with the United Teachers Los Angeles union family and support their effort to ensure adequate funding for public education, counselors and nurses, smaller class size, fair compensation, community schools. We want to send a powerful message to L.A. school district officials that these issues are important in towns and cities across the country. The demands presented by UTLA are the same things we all support and fight for.
Walk-ins are meant to project the message that parents, educators, students and allies are walking in to demonstrate our solidarity with L.A. educators in their fight for the public schools ALL students deserve.
What’s at Stake in Los Angeles
What United Teachers Los Angeles seeks is rooted in what every parent and teacher wants for their kids: a public school system where ALL students matter, with adequate funding and other resources to give our children a real chance to thrive and succeed. UTLA wants:
Reduced Class Size: Class sizes in the Los Angeles Unified School District are among the biggest in California. Yet we know students have a better chance to succeed with smaller classes.
LAUSD pleads poverty while it sits on a reserve fund of nearly $2 billion. Year after year, it uses a “financial crisis” clause in the current contract to ignore agreed-upon class size limits.
Improved School Health and Safety: LAUSD is denying our students the supports they need to succeed. The district must provide them with more access to nurses, counselors, school psychologists and more.
Nearly 40 percent of Los Angeles schools have a nurse present only one day a week.
Less Testing and More Teaching: Unnecessary standardized testing reduces critical instructional time, and low-income students of color are affected the most.
Testing is so excessive that LAUSD has difficulty providing details on the number, type, and cost of required tests and the time consumed by each.
Investments in Community Schools: LAUSD must invest in successful strategies that uplift neighborhood schools. The community schools model—with increased parent engagement, broadened curriculum and wraparound services—is proven to improve student outcomes.
Fair Wages Now: Los Angeles’ high cost of living is causing a teacher shortage.
Many teachers work a second job to make ends meet.
Support for Students and Families: The district can no longer ignore real-life conditions that affect students. LAUSD must cultivate a learning environment for all students by establishing immigrant supports, ending racially biased “random” searches, and increasing green space and early education opportunities on campuses.
Many schools have full-time, armed police officers but not a single college counselor.
Charter School Oversight: Unchecked expansion of the charter industry drains millions of dollars from neighborhood schools, and creates equity and transparency problems. We must protect neighborhood schools by regulating charter growth and charter school co-locations.
The so-called portfolio reform advocated by the LAUSD superintendent has been tried in many places. In most of them, it has ignited parent anger, increased school closings and privatization, and increased inequities.
Funding for Our Schools: California is the richest state in the nation, yet ranks 43rd out of 50 states in per-pupil funding. LAUSD must fight at the local, state and national level to increase funding to $20,000 per student by 2020.
When adjusted for inflation, California education spending still lags behind funding a decade ago, before the Great Recession.
Further Reading: “L.A. Teachers Potential Meta-Strike”