Written by Ramon Amaya, Diego De La Luz, and Andrew Machuca
If you had the choice to fight for future students and teachers there should be no the option; long term effects are what you should be thinking about. Starting right on the second semester, this January 14 of the 2018-2019 school year the UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles) teachers went on strike to protest for better student services, much more than simply a salary cost of living increase. They were ‘in it to win it’ more for their students. Asking for smaller class sizes, full time nurses, more counselors, a full time librarian were the essential issues on the table.
The compromise with the LAUSD district (2nd largest in the nation) was a win for students as schools should now receive a full time nurse and librarian, classes cut by 1 person, gradually to decrease by 3 over time. Journalism advisor Diane Wilson hopes that¨this is a step in the right direction as it adds at least another teacher to a campus.¨ This takes a lot less stress off of teachers over time, as lowering class sizes instead of slowing adding more students affects everyone’s ability to learn.
The Strike and the students
A week of relief is what is mostly perceived when teenagers talk about the strike and its effects on their education. Many students during this strike week without teachers to instruct them milked the opportunities this movement provided. By the end of the strike, students were choosing to hang out with friends rather than attend school (SJHA offered opportunities to learn every day during the strike); many of the students decided to neglect attendance in hopes that money loss from their absences would bring the strike to an end and perhaps this is one reason that the UTLA and the LAUSD came to an agreement on the second Tuesday of the strike. However, as successful as teachers and students were, this one week ultimately kicked everyone in the behind. Students lost valuable instruction time which in turn can not be readily made up. AP students in particular lost a week of valuable and essential information towards rigorous tests looming this May.
How did the strike affect the teachers?
On the other hand, teachers perceived the strike as a week of persistence and dedication as they protested outside of their schools and downtown in the cold/rainy weather conditions, forcing some to purchase warmer rain resistant clothing. The teachers spent up to nine hours outside everyday until their demands were met. Some teachers described it as “The longest and hardest week of their lives.” To add onto the fact that teachers were out in the cold pouring rain they were also not paid for the duration of the strike. With the absence of students during the strike LAUSD schools lost a large amount of money; the financial repercussions for next year are still not clear at this point.
In the long run, the legacy left behind from the success of this strike will undoubtedly go noticed. The power and voices projected not only left an impact on our modern world but will surely influence the future. The fight for our education, though comes with sacrifices, should be prioritized as the power of knowledge can lead to greater things for all.