Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Dori Monson Dori: Do Issaquah teachers going on strike support Trump's shutdown?

Scenes from the class(room) struggle in LA Denver district, board members frame teacher contract negotiations as debate over values
Jeannette Daniel | 19 January, 2019, 11:57

"For the first time in almost 30 years, educators in LA are on strike".

Page 14 covered a teachers' strike in Los Angeles with the alarmed tones one might think were more appropriate for the Panama invasion.

As some 30,000 teachers spent a third day on picket lines at schools across the nation's second-largest school district on Wednesday, a union leader expressed optimism that stalled negotiations could be restarted with help from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Gloria Martinez, vice president of elementary schools for the UTLA, said she believes Latino parents support the striking teachers.

The striking educators said they want to remedy classes that often have 40-plus students, a lack of counselors and nurses to support students, closed libraries and crumbling classrooms. This time, the stakes are higher not only for LA teachers, but the future of public education in the city and beyond. Unsurprisingly, politicians and district leaders have used the deepening crisis as an opportunity to push for further privatization and tax cuts for the wealthy. The school district is hoping to hold on to its $1.9 billion in reserves and continue defunding, dismantling, and privatizing the city's 900 public schools.

Beutner, a former publisher and investment banker, said the district had proposed staff increases that would cost $130 million a year - more than county officials have said is available - while the union's demands would cost $800 million. "He has no experience in education and no degree in education". He noted an independent fact-finder agreed that it doesn't have the money to cover the union's demands.

"Today is the beginning of a new day for our students!" Retired teacher Mike added, "When I started teaching in 1985, the UTLA used to fight principals that bullied teachers and tried to push them out". Sometimes when she is scheduled at the school, she will have to leave midday to help at a different school to deal with a diabetes complication or a broken bone. That's why 80 percent of schools don't have full-time nurses.

Union president Alex Caputo-Pearl said support for the strike is growing among residents and parents.

More news: Judge denies 'essential' federal workers' request to be paid during the shutdown

United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl told the crowd there will be information later in the day about when the union will return to the bargaining table.

He said L.A. teachers were inspired by other teacher strikes in states like Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, and that in the end ー whether it's a deep blue state like California or a deep red state like Kentucky ー it's about "setting the tempo" for public education in the U.S.by allocating more resources to improve the quality of education for students.

SHAPIRO: He's head of the LA teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles.

This has not gone on without hostility from the district.

According to the LAUSD, at least 132,411 of strike-affected students went to class Wednesday, although figures from a dozen other campuses were still being tallied. Though UTLA was clear that these measures were illegitimate, some local news stations broadcasted the warnings. "I want to call out Monica Garcia", said Chavez. We are very well organized. They knew that they could just ax more classrooms programs, or, better yet, establish an income tax and take even more of our money. Each mid-day rally attracted over 50,000 UTLA members and allies.

School District Superintendent Austin Beutner has said the demands, if fully met, would place too great a strain on the district's budget.

With 35,000 teachers on the picket lines, classrooms are sitting empty throughout the city.

A 2017 school board election that pitted teacher unions against charter school backers resulted in a pro-charter majority on the board. "But it's mainly about the students and communities we serve", she said. "I went to public school, and so did my parents". Everyone seems to be saying they're acting in the interests of the kids here. "Los Angeles Unified is conducting a full investigation into the incident".

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