After 20 months of unsuccessful contract negotiations, 32,000 teachers in United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) said “enough is enough!” and went on strike Jan. 14. Every school site in the Los Angeles Unified School District—more than 900—participated in the strike. On Day 1 of the strike, a 50,000 teachers and supporters marched to the District’s headquarters.
It’s the city’s first teachers’ strike in 30 years, but it’s also part of a wave of teacher strikes that got under way last year in West Virginia and spread to Oklahoma, Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado, Kentucky, and Washington.
In LA, teachers are striking for smaller class sizes, 6.5 percent raises, more counselors and nurses, and in opposition to the expansion of charter schools: LA’s charter school industry has grown by 287 percent since 2008, draining nearly $600 million a year from public schools.
Administrators kept schools open for the district’s 600,000 students, using 400 substitute teachers and over 2,000 reassigned administrators, but it’s not clear any learning is going on, and many parents are keeping students home.