Los Angeles Teacher Strike

March for Public Education initiated in Los Angeles on Monday, January 14th.

Credit to Time Magazine

March for Public Education initiated in Los Angeles on Monday, January 14th.

Renee Chaples, Editor and Chief

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Taking inspiration from the teacher strikes headlining in Colorado and West Virginia, nearly 34,000 educators from the United Teachers of Los Angeles walked away from their jobs starting Monday morning, January 14th.

The walkout is not based on their salary but rather the lack of faculty for the schools. Without the proper amount of employees, the teachers are responsible for classes with 40-50 students each. In an interview with CNN, Andrea Cohen, a teacher at John Marshall High School stated, “It’s absolutely not the pay raise. It’s about class size reduction. In other words, hire more teachers.” Alongside requesting more teachers, Cohen also claims that the lack of nurses, librarians, and psychiatric social workers has proven to be a problem at her workplace.

This walkout resulted in nearly 600,000 students without their teachers. The students are expected to attend class regardless of the protests status and in order to keep the schools open, the state has hired substitute teachers to fill in for the missing faculty. According to the Los Angeles Times, an estimate of one-third of those students showed up the Monday the protests started. Many parents have withheld their children from attending schools during the protests since they either support the cause, or they feel that the substitutes will not provide the ideal education. The protest could last days or even weeks since the negotiations that have been occurring for the past few years are at a standstill.

As of right now, the only proposal is coming from the LAUSD. The proposed solution according to CNN, “would add nearly 1,200 more educators — teachers, counselors, nurses, and librarians — in schools, reducing class size in thousands of classrooms.” However, union President Alex Caputo-Pearl stated that the agreement would only be valid for one year thus making it “woefully inadequate”.

As of right now the future of the L.A. schools district proves to be quite a conundrum. Most of the teachers’ requests could easily result in the schools filing for bankruptcy, and on the other side, if the issues are not solved the quality of education for the students could decline tenfold resulting in later issues.