Wet winter weather didn’t dampen teachers’ commitment to students, more than 28,000 covered in ponchos, toting picket signs and umbrellas report to 900 district-wide picket lines
SACRAMENTO – California Teachers Association President Eric C. Heins issued this statement from the picket line in Los Angeles representing CTA’s 325,000 members who are standing strong with their colleagues and students as they begin day one of the first strike there in 30 years. This action by CTA’s largest local affiliate, representing educators in the second-largest school district in the nation, is a last and necessary resort that comes after nearly two years of hard negotiations with a school district that seems determined to undermine public education and the students it is supposed to serve:
“Cloudy with a chance of solidarity is what came to mind as we joined our nearly 30,000 colleagues in Los Angeles as they began their first strike in more than 30 years. The rain and wind were coming down but that wasn’t going to stop teachers, parents, students and the thousands of supporters. The energy was electrifying even in the downpour, and the vibe screamed commitment to each and every one of L.A.’s students. Cold, wet hair, soggy clothing and drenched shoes and socks was pretty much the look today and it was donned proudly for the sake of the kids.
“We are proud of UTLA standing strong for students and educators. The issues they are fighting for: lower class sizes, adequate numbers of nurses, investment in neighborhood schools, stopping the privatization of public education, are not just Los Angeles issues; these are issues we are facing in other parts of the state like Oakland. These are also not only issues of concern to educators, but to parents, community members, elected leaders, and, most importantly, to the students entrusted in our care.
“The Los Angeles Unified School District, which currently sits on an unconscionable reserve of nearly $2 billion, must do the right thing to bring this strike to an end. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner must recognize that the longer they fail to do what’s right, the longer they are hurting our students.
“While we urge LAUSD to end the strike now, our support for UTLA members will be full and unwavering for as long as it takes to reach a settlement. The issues at stake will determine the future for millions of students in the coming years. Educators across California and the nation are inspired by the determination and bravery of UTLA members striking today, and we are deeply moved by their sacrifice for their students. We know they will prevail, and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them until they do.”