On Tuesday night, the union representing striking instructors in Los Angeles reached a deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District, ending a weeklong strike that had actually drawn broad assistance from parents, Los Angeles residents, and leaders of the Democratic Party. Educators will be back in their classrooms on Wednesday early morning.
Here’s some of what they won, per the New York Times:
The deal includes caps on class sizes, and hiring full-time nurses for every school, as well as a curator for every middle and high school in the district by the fall of 2020. The union also won a considerable concession from the district on standardized tests: Next year a committee will establish a plan to lower the number of assessments by half. The pro-charter school board concurred to vote on a resolution calling on the state to cap the number of charter schools. Educators also won a 6 percent pay raise, but that was the exact same boost proposed by the district before the strike.
The instructors union, United Educators Los Angeles, had called for a 6.5 percent raise as well as the employing of more instructors and support personnel to minimize overcrowding and supply much-needed services to trainees.
Other arrangements of the deal, per the Los Angeles Times, address needs from teachers and students about disciplinary policies:
The district also agreed to expand to 28 the number of schools that will no longer conduct random searches of middle and high school trainees. That provision was specifically crucial to trainees who marched in assistance of their teachers.
As numerous have pointed out, the gains won by the strike are not restricted just to agreement wins; from the 2012 instructor strike in Chicago to today, there has actually been a marked boost in assistance for the idea of instructors taking militant action to safeguard not only their livelihoods, but the needs of their students and more broadly, the idea of public education.
And this shift has actually been most noticable within the Democratic Party facility, whose wealthy funders are often proponents of charter schools. From Jacobin:
Just a few years ago, there was no question that establishment Democrats would side with charter schools and bought-off district officials over teachers and their unions. But such people pay close attention to which method the wind is blowing. Democrats’ calculus has altered: they must make concessions to striking teachers, even if they’re striking in Democratic area and even if that indicates crossing their donors. For party elites to openly side with the instructors in this dispute, there must be a mighty wind blowing indeed.
And the wave of teacher strikes that began last year shows no indication of stopping, according to the New York Times:
Other major American cities and states are now facing a possible school walkout, even as Los Angeles reached a settlement. Educators in Denver began voting over the weekend on whether to strike after settlements with the city’s school system failed to produce an contract on Friday, local news outlets reported. In Virginia, instructors are preparation a statewide demonstration later on in January. And teachers in Oakland, Calif., said they had actually drawn lessons from Los Angeles teachers and were now preparing to vote on a strike.
As labor reporter Sarah Jaffe told Democracy Now! on Wednesday early morning, “It’s been bipartisan policy to sort of beat up on teachers and argue that privatizing the schools will make them much better. And we’re lastly seeing incredible pushback.”