Over 30,000 teachers in America’s second largest education district of Los Angeles are currently on strike.
The strike, which started on Monday is happening for the first time in 30 years with the teachers demanding a pay raise.
About 480,000 children were believed to be affected by the unusual development.
As thousands of the teachers and union activists, wearing red, marched down the streets of LA in rainy weather on Monday, the protesters demanded a 6.5% pay raise from the authorities.
The protesting teachers also challenged the authorities to “fully staff” schools with librarians, nurses, counselors and other support personnel, and to reduce class sizes. The union also wants assurance that public school funding won’t be affected by privatization.
As against the 30,000 figure given by the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the police said the estimated number of demonstrators who gathered at Grand Park was about 20,000.
President of the ULTA, Alex Caputo-Pearl justified the reason behind the strike based on the enormous resources the state had.
“Here we are on a rainy day in the richest country in the world, in the richest state in the country, in a state that’s blue as it can be – and in a city rife with millionaires – where teachers have to go on strike to get the basics for our students,” he said.
The teachers seemed undeterred by the morning rain.
A little bit of rain can’t stop teachers, parents, and students from fighting to improve public education! #UTLAStrike #UTLAStrong pic.twitter.com/K7RJ2n3rsC
— Reclaim Our Schools LA (@ReclaimLASchls) January 14, 2019
They even had a band of music teachers spice up their activism.
Music teachers formed a band for the teachers strike. They called it The Red For Ed Marching Band. #UTLAStrike pic.twitter.com/pHNilQaZRB
— Esmeralda Bermudez 🦅 (@LATbermudez) January 14, 2019
They went all out specifying their demands for improved welfare packages in terms of the medical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of them and their students.
Today is the beginning of a new day for our students! We’re on strike because our students and our classrooms cannot wait any longer. We cannot continue on without the nurses, counselors, and librarians our students need. #Strike4Ed #WeAreLA #UTLASrong pic.twitter.com/cXtrBfkpKS
— United Teachers Los Angeles (@UTLAnow) January 14, 2019
The protests drew sympathy and support from parents, politicians, black lives matters, Hollywood writers, and even from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York).
As a parent and a human being, I have long been aghast at how little we pay teachers, how much we ask of them, and how blase we R about the fact they use THEIR OWN MONEY 4 necessary supplies. I #standwithutla #UTLAStrike and support LA Teachers in their strike.
— Jodi Jacobson (@jljacobson) January 14, 2019
I’m an LAUSD Parent & I support teachers and want LAUSD to provide a resolution that includes smaller class sizes, less mandated testing, nurses and counselors and pay for our teachers #UTLAstrike #supportourteachers
— Stacey Moseley (@StaceyRMoseley) January 9, 2019
Hitting the picket lines with fellow writer @alisonlzeidman to support the teacher and students in their fight for smaller class sizes and better public schools. @WGAWest represent!! @UTLAnow #UTLAStrong #UTLAStrike pic.twitter.com/beHIiAgDg5
— Adam Conover (@adamconover) January 14, 2019
.@BLMAtSchool just released this powerful statement of solidarity w/ the striking educators of LA!
“The demands of the UTLA strike support students and parents and align w/ the demands of #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.” https://t.co/8Xx5H1zCMB
— Jesse Hagopian (@JessedHagopian) January 14, 2019
These LA teachers striking against privatization + demanding smaller classrooms/more support for their students is a whole 2019 mood
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 14, 2019
EduCeleb.com reports that Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is second to New York in terms of number of students. In the 2017/2018 academic session, it had a budget of $7.52 billion and employed 26,046 teachers and 34,194 other employees, including 2,465 administrators.
A recent study showed that the LAUSD also had $5.1 billion more in liabilities than in assets, mostly due to the mounting health and pension benefits.
The governor of Los Angeles, Gavin Newsom has expressed concerns about the strike urging the teachers to call it off.
He noted that his government had proposed a state budget that includes the “largest ever investment” in the LAUSD, which would “pay down billions in school district pension debt.”
In his words, “This impasse is disrupting the lives of too many kids and their families.
“I strongly urge all parties to go back to the negotiating table and find an immediate path forward that puts kids back into classrooms and provides parents certainty.”For information on Press Releases, Photos, Promotional Events and Adverts, Please message us on WhatsApp via (+234) 09052129258, 08124662170 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.