Educators strike amidst Los Angeles Unified School District conflict


Damian Dovarganes

Teachers march the streets of downtown Los Angeles, striking for better pay and working conditions. Both educators and parents alike hold signs in protest. As the strikes continue, the UTLA President, Alex Caputo-Pearl spoke, saying, “We have watched underfunding and the actions of privatizers undermine our schools for too long. No more.”

Grace Straka , Op-Ed Editor

Beginning on Monday, Jan.14, teachers working in Los Angeles, California, started to strike. For six days, educators stood through rain and shine, protesting for better pay and funding to go toward the school environment. Ending on January 20, the Los Angeles Unified School District was able to reach a compromise: increasing teacher salaries, lowering class sizes and enhancing the general learning environment.

Due to the lack of staff within L.A. schools from the strikes, students were left to either stay home or come to school, despite the absence of their teachers and adequate lesson plans. Many found this to be more detrimental to the children than the strike was worth, as it took away multiple school days and learning opportunities. “I wish that the students didn’t have to suffer and lose days of learning, but I hope it all is able to work out,” said Abi Blasi ‘20.

As a consequence of the strikes, the school district lost over $125 million dollars from their future budget, seeing as their school funding is reliant on the number of students in daily attendance. According to Ralph Ellis and Holly Yang, authors of a CNN piece covering the strikes, only 85,274 students came to school out of over 800,000 enrolled in the district.

Parents are standing in solidarity with the school staff, and some are even seeing the financial loss as a means to an end. According to CNN writers Ralph Ellis and Holly Yang,  Karen Goldman, whose son was being kept out of attendance said, “I feel like the message I am sending by not sending him and creating a budget loss is better than if I send him, because that will hopefully bring the strike to a conclusion faster.”

As the strikes came to a close, and the district came to a compromise with educators, Jennifer Given, a History teacher at Hollis Brookline High School spoke about why she thought the strikes were able to end quickly, saying, “Instead of it being about one versus another, it was about everyone trying out figure out what’s good for kids.” This mentality allowed both sides to focus on the common good and resolve the issue quickly.   

Following the strikes in L.A., events alike are starting to occur in Denver, Virginia and other areas of California. After the compromise that came in Los Angeles, many are hopeful the same will result in other locations.