Striking teachers picket week 1; local and national media reports

By Michael Hernandez

LOS ANGELES—Striking teachers picketed schools and the home of the district superintendent Austin Beutner; held regional rallies including one at the offices of the California Charter Schools Association, community strike meetings, and marches at Grand Park—in front of City Hall—during Week 1  of the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)  strike impacting Los Angeles and 31 smaller cities (see Citizens Journal story:  https://citizensjournal.us/possible-teachers-strike-would-impact-los-angeles-and-31-smaller-cities/).

The UTLA United Teacher publication announced the strike date of January 10 with the headline:  “Enough is enough.’

School principals sent home parent letters the week (Jan. 7-11) before the strike informing  parents of how schools would provide online educational activities and curriculum and maintain after school programs.

Meanwhile, a pre-strike flyer issued by UTLA claimed:

  • District offered pay-raise was contingent on healthcare rollback;
  • Class size issues had not been resolved;
  • Demand for more nurses counselors and libraries had not be met;
  • No progress on other critical proposals.

During week 1, crowd-funding raised $30,000 for “tacos for teachers” and brought taco trucks to the picket lines.  This action was supported by the Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America.

Local Media report on LA strike

Headlines for Los Angeles Times strike stories:

  • Garcetti calls L.A. teachers’ strike ‘electrifying’ but urges swift resolution (Doug Smith, Jan. 14);
  • A. teachers bask in support for strike, but pressure grows to settle amid financial losses (Howard Blume and Doug Smith, Jan. 16);
  • A. teachers riding blue wave of support, challenging LAUSD’s strike strategy (Howard Blume, Jan. 18).
  • LAUSD teachers’ strike, Day 5: The sun’s out, L.A. strikers gather, and hopes rise for a settlement (Howard Blume and Sonali Kohli, Jan. 18);

Headlines for L.A. School Report strike stories:

  • Beneath the LAUSD teacher strike, the quiet anxieties of parents facing a multitude of fears (Esmeralda Fabian Romero, Jan. 15);
  • 21 black pastors call on UTLA to return to the table to end LAUSD teacher strike because ‘the fortunes of African-American children do not improve on a picket line’ (Esmeralda Fabian Romero and Laura Fay, Jan. 16);
  • ‘Painful truth’: 9 numbers haunting LAUSD strike as strike continues (Taylor Swaak, Jan. 17). (Editor’s Note:  A news story reporting the strike from its impact on the district which lost a net $75 million with attendance dropping from a high of 171,480 students on Tuesday to a low of 84,160 students on Thursday–the district serves 486,000 students.  The district projects loses of $135 million if UTLA strikes another four days next week.  Beutner claims that UTLA current demands would add $800 million to annual district spending.  The district is projecting retiree benefit spending of $314 million for 2018-19 for free, lifetime benefits for retirees, employees and their dependents with roughly $2,300 of the $16,000 L.A. Unified receives per students for 2018-19 going toward the district’s health care package.  See link: http://laschoolreport.com/painful-truth-9-numbers-haunting-lausd-as-strike-continues/);
  • Welcome but complicated—Mayor Garcetti, Gov Newsom and the pressure to end the LAUSD teacher strike (Taylor Swaak, Jan. 18).

National Media report on LA strike

Headlines for national media strike stories:

  • Students in limbo (CNN, Holly Yan, Jan. 14);
  • Why the L.A. teachers strike is so uncomfortable for so many Democrats (The Washington Post, Valerie Strauss, Jan. 15). (Editor’s Note:  This news story reports on the divide between Arne Duncan, the Democratic former secretary of education under President Barack Obama, critical of the teachers strike and Randi Weingarten, the Democratic president of the American Federation of Teachers, supportive of the strike.);
  • Sides are negotiating again (CNN, Holly Yan, Jan. 17);
  • LA teachers, district to resume negotiations amid strike (AP, Christopher Weber and John Antczak, Jan. 17) reporting on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s facilitating talks between the district and union at City Hall;
  • Homeless kids lose their island of stability during the Los Angeles teachers’ strike (Chris Woodyard, USA Today, Jan. 19).

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 24 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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One Response to Striking teachers picket week 1; local and national media reports

  1. William Hicks January 23, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Whoopey!

    Now we can have more union dues members because the class size will be gradually reduced. That way the union bosses can fund more sympathetic politicians runs for office.

    Reply

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