Close to 30,000 Los Angeles-based teachers took to the streets on Monday in the newest wave of educator activism making it the the largest school strike in the nation’s second-largest school district.
Teachers from all across Los Angeles County marched in front of their schools before gathering at a rally in downtown Los Angeles wearing red in solidarity adorned with signs and megaphones. It marked the first day of the first teachers strike in 30 years in L.A.
The strike follows months of failed negotiations between the Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, to reach a deal for smaller class sizes, increased support staff along with pay raises, Huffington Post reported.
The teachers union is bargaining for a 6.5 percent pay raise effective immediately. But the district came back with a 6 percent increase “over two years of a three-year contract,” The Hill reported.
The district released its latest negotiations on Friday “offering an additional $24 million and 200 more teachers than their previous offer,” The Hill reported.
Today @LASchools presented UTLA with a new offer to significantly reduce class size and ensure no increase in any class size, increase nurses, counselors and librarians at all schools, along with a 6% salary increase and back pay for the 2017-2018 school year. pic.twitter.com/jchW2fCHsm
— L.A. Unified (@LASchools) January 12, 2019
The district hired close to 400 non-unionized substitute teachers and 2,000 reassigned administrators to replace the 30,000 teachers while on strike and encouraged parents to still send their children to school in an attempt to have a “normal day,” The Hill reported.
“[Students will] be fed, they’ll be greeted by the same principal that greets them every morning at the door, and they will be learning,” Austin Beutner, LAUSD Superintendent, said.
The strike is now in its second day with no end date in sight. Beutner’s only hope is that the teachers union will continue to negotiate with the district.
“We have to bargain, we have to finish the contract negotiations, that’s how it gets resolved,” he said.