Los Angeles, California — On Monday, January 14th, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten joined thousands of Los Angeles educators on strike. Joining the LA teachers on the picket line were hundreds of parents, students, clergy, community members, and other trade unionists.
“Last year,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten, “Public school educators in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, and charter school educators in Illinois, walked out for their kids. Now, in L.A., a big, wealthy city, educators are doing the same, and for the same reasons: They’re tired of the pattern of starving our schools and our students of the resources they need for their success. Teachers want to teach, but they need help, not school leaders who just want to take a district apart piece by piece. This is not a business driven by a profit motive; this is public schooling, driven by the motivation that we care about all kids. And if the school system’s superintendent cared about teaching and learning enough to invest in them, we wouldn’t be on the precipice of a strike now.”
The historic strike—the first educator strike in Los Angeles in nearly 30 years—represents a fundamental clash over the vision and values for the city and for public education nationwide.
Overcrowded classrooms continues to hamper quality education in Los Angeles. A per-pupil funding rate ranks California 43rd in the nation. UTLA is calling on the Los Angeles Unified School District and Superintendent Austin Beutner to use the city’s significant reserves and state funding for improving services and adding resources. Desperately needed in schools are counselors, nurses and librarians. In addition class sizes need to be capped.
“Austin Beutner isn’t fooling anyone,” said Weingarten. We’ve seen this slash-and-burn agenda play out before, and as the people in the classroom every day, we know: Scarcity is not a strategy that actually helps kids learn. L.A.’s teachers are willing to strike until they get the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.”