Iranian-American poet Majid Naficy at teachers' picket line in Santa Monica near where he does stairs every morning, January 18, 2019.
Harvard-Westlake Chronicle — The streets were a sea of red.
As Aaron Rovinsky (University High School ’19) maneuvered his car down crowded boulevards in downtown Los Angeles, he watched as streams of teachers, students and parents marched toward the Los Angeles Unified School District Board headquarters.
Sporting scarlet ponchos and clasping colorful umbrellas, the protesters extended for tens of blocks, the growing mass growing more animated as the downpour quickened. As children delicately picked their way around puddles and teachers brandished signs declaring “FIGHTING FOR OUR STUDENTS,” Rovinsky felt hopeful despite the murky skies above.
“Although students are out of school and not learning in class during the strike, we get to fight alongside our teachers for present and future generations of students to have an overall better education,” Rovinsky said. “Teachers deserve the right to strike because they literally dedicate their lives to helping students grow into educated adults; they’ve given so much of their time to us, the students, so we should respect what they have to say and stand up with them for what they believe in.”
Over 30,000 teachers went on strike early Monday morning after 21 months of failed negotiations with the Los Angeles Unified School District, CBSLA reported. The district, which is the second-largest in the nation, has not experienced a strike in last three decades.
The union the picketers belong to, United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents 34,000 educators, wants high salaries, smaller class sizes and more nurses, counselors and librarians, according to the Los Angeles Times. Brent Smiley, who teaches history and English and Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, said he and his colleagues are protesting unfit teaching and learning conditions.
“It isn’t about money in our pocket,” Smiley said. “It really is now fighting the fight for what’s right and education.”
When UTLA negotiated into teachers’ contracts class size caps 10 years ago, limiting classes to 34 or 37 students depending on the school, Smiley said the district included a clause which allowed it to waive those caps during “dire financial emergencies.” Teachers wish to amend this part of the contact, known as Section 1.5, to allow the district to wave class size caps bilaterally, not unilaterally, Smiley said >>>