Thousands of teachers, parents, students, and district managers and personnel of the Los Angeles Unified School District are affected by the city’s first strike in 30 years, that began officially at 7am local time on Monday, January 14. Rain and tacos greeted picketers.
LAUSD campuses will remain open, the district said, and students are required to attend. But many parents are keeping their kids home, in a show of support for the teachers union amid a nationwide wave of educators taking to the picket lines.
— United Teachers Los Angeles (@UTLAnow) January 14, 2019
[UPDATED: 12:07 pm | **Check back for up-to-the-minute updates all day Monday on the first day of the UTLA teachers strike **— Ed.]
UTLA President Alex Caputo Pearl led a press conference Monday morning under a tent where he reiterated the union’s stance on smaller class sizes. “Here we are on a rainy day in the richest country in the world, in the richest state in the country, in a city rife with millionaires, where teachers have to go on strike to get the basics for their students.” Pearl told the crowd of students, teachers, and other supporters.
Teachers and supporters all around Los Angeles have told L.A. reporters that the strike is primarily over classroom sizes. “We are fighting for our students,” said an elementary school teacher outside Highland Park. “For smaller class sizes and safety.”
Shortly after 10am, Superintendent Austin Beutner and School Board rep Monica Garcia held a press conference reiterating the fact that schools will be open during the strike. However many programs like early education (except for special education) and nursing will be closed, Beutner said.
Even before the first picket line is assembled, the tense battle between the country’s second largest school district and ULTA, the 30,000-strong union, spilled over into the halls and quads of several schools since the strike vote was announced in late August. On some campuses, UTLA held special prep meetings at lunch, charter schools sent out notifications that campuses will remain open during the strike, and students have held rallies and sign-making parties in support of the teachers.
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