For the First Time in 30 Years, Los Angeles Teachers Are on Strike

Photo: Damian Doverganes (AP Photo)

After a slight legal hiccup, the United Teachers Los Angeles kicked off a planned strike Monday morning.

Initially, the teachers union planned to kick off its strike starting on Thursday. But on Wednesday, the union announced the action was being pushed back to today in order to satisfy a legal requirement that the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the nation, receive a 10-day notice ahead of any strikes, per the Los Angeles Times.

The strike comes amidst a decade-long influx of charter schools in Los Angeles and historic underfunding that have left the students, 90 percent of whom are non-white, without librarians or nurses and forced teachers to flee to higher-paying jobs in nearby districts. According to the local CBS station, the strike was called after 21 months of failed negotiations between UTLA and the district.

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During the nearly two years of talks, the school district has edged closer and closer to providing teachers and schools with adequate funding but has continually refused to meet their demands—the union is calling for fully staffed schools, a pledge to reduce class sizes, and a 6.5 percent raise; the school district, meanwhile, won’t budge from its offer of a 6 percent raise during the first two years of a three-year union contract.

In preparation for the strike, the school hired 400 substitutes and convinced 2,000 administrators to be scabs and fill in for striking teachers. While the numbers offered in the school district’s latest offer sounds splashy1,200 new teachers and $24 million more funding than their previous offer, per the local CBS affiliate—the district’s per-student spending rate, a more accurate measure of school system funding, is currently at half of New York’s, according to the New York Times.

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If you’re a Los Angeles teacher or parent and are interested in sharing your story of the strike or how Los Angeles’ systemic underfunding of its schools has affected you and your family, email us.

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