The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest district in the nation. It serves about 600,000 students from kindergarten to high school. And, although the national class size average is 26-28 students per classroom, the overflow of students in LAUSD has led to classes averaging from 36-46 students.
So, on January 14, 2019, the LAUSD educators banded together in order to voice their complaints and concerns for their schools. Although the teacher’s union (UTLA) and LAUSD have been negotiating various topics for the past couple of months, in the end they turned up fruitless. It was this lack of agreement that led to the teacher’s strike.
Per their strike, the teacher’s demanded a 6.5 percent raise in salary, demanded more counselors, librarians, and nurses at their schools, demanded a reduction in standardized testing, and demanded a reduction in class sizes. All of these factors affect the students’ quality of education along with their ability to learn and LAUSD teachers wanted to see change.
The strike proved to be very effective. Costing LAUSD around $97 million dollars, the district was forced to reconsider the demands being put on them. On January 22, 2019, after much discussion with UTLA representatives, LAUSD agreed to reduce class sizes in all grade levels, add 300 school nurses, 80 librarians, and one counselor per 500 students.
Despite this success, the strike itself had many detrimental effects on the students, especially those enrolled in AP courses. These students lost a week of educational time which can result in the lowering of their AP exam scores. Furthermore, students involved in sports were affected by the strike as well. The strike refrained them from practicing and almost disqualified some high schools from competing because of their lack of practice days.
Chris Kim, an eleventh grader within LAUSD stated that he is “thankful to his teachers for standing up for his education.”
I personally, as a student of LAUSD, am glad that the teachers stood up for the education of their students and the welfare of their schools. I am grateful for the time and effort they put into the strike. I believe these teachers are now considered an example for other teachers who are concerned about their students’ education.
This strike has unified the community of Los Angeles. Not only did the teachers strike but many students and their parents came out in support of their teachers. And, through this influential strike, I hope to learn that we, the people, can make change within our communities.
Allison Lee, Grade 10
Crescenta Valley High School