A tentative deal announced Tuesday could end the six-day teachers’ union strike in the nation’s second-largest school district.
Los Angeles teachers, students and parents reacted with exhilaration – and, for some, disappointment – after union leaders reached a tentative agreement Tuesday with the L.A. Unified School District to end the strike, more than a week after it started.
The mood at a post-negotiations downtown rally was celebratory, though most of those attending didn’t yet know the details of the agreement that they were scheduled to vote on within hours.
Another piece of good news is that the district also agreed to further limit random searches of middle and high school students and to create 30 community schools, which would provide social services to families, rich academic programs to students and leadership roles for parents and teachers.
The strike has made teachers realize that they shouldn’t just let things slide because they are more powerful than they previously thought. And there’s hope that that teachers will have even more power in future negotiations.
Some strikers left unhappy with the results
Some strikers declared that the strike was less about pay than the future of public education in Los Angeles, which she says is threatened by the folding of small charter schools into charter conglomerates with deep-pocketed and politically muscular backers.
“We wanted to make sure all kids have an equal playing field, 20, 30 years in the future,” she said. “If privatization of our schools continues, it’s going to make even more of a gap between the haves and the have-nots.”
Also, the agreement didn’t sound like a resounding win for teachers, especially because restrictions on class sizes were far from firm. Larger classes mean having less time to focus on students who are falling behind and having 42 children in a classroom, definitely isn’t helping anybody.
The settlement came after tens of thousands of teachers in the nation’s second-largest public school system marched in downtown Los Angeles and picketed outside schools for six school days, and after a round of marathon negotiating sessions over the holiday weekend.
During the strike, teachers braved days of rain as they picketed in front of their schools and rallied downtown. Principals, charged with keeping their schools up and running, praised their teachers and talked of how much they wanted them back in classrooms.