Striking for Students

Leilani Fu'Qua, Editor

Wednesday, January 23rd marks the first day back for more than 30,000 employees in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The teachers marched for 6 days, through the cold and rain, in an attempt to protest the conditions of their contracts. Teachers argued that students heavily lacked resources, despite the district having an approximate two billion dollar budget.

Class sizes often exceed 45 students at the high school level, and there is a lack of school counselors, psychologists, and librarians. There is little to no ethnic studies or arts curriculum, and for the programs that still persist, the funding is inadequate.

Only 20% of the schools in the district have full time nurses, and some argue that the rise of charter schools negatively impacts the public schools in the district. All of the aforementioned circumstances led up to the 6 day strike, costing the district millions.

Teachers in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District wore red on Friday, January 18th to show solidarity with their fellow educators. The Honors Anatomy and Physiology teacher, Mr. Henry Gonzales, was one of the teachers at Ontario High School that wore red. He says, “I absolutely support the teachers in Los Angeles. It’s hard to successfully teach a class of 45 kids, so I appreciate the lengths our district goes to create a valid contract.”

The strike has since concluded, but the threat of charter schools and underfunding still persists. As the second largest school district nationwide, LAUSD needs lots of resources to keep going.

LAUSD student Angela Lazarte says, “We only have nurses once a week, which is pretty redundant because we can’t choose which days to be sick. Also, we have a lack of funding for school supplies like glue, scissors, rulers, [and] printers.” Lazarte, who is graduating this year, also says it is difficult to maximize learning with class sizes of 40-45 students, especially when supplies are coming out the teacher’s pockets.

California comes in 23rd for statewide school funding, but it’s national report card is below average compared to many other states. The employees in the LAUSD school district had plenty reason to strike, and their efforts will be noted as an attempt to improve the California education systems in general.