Los Angeles public school teachers protest for funding, higher salaries

Richard Williams , Staff writer and Businesses Manager

Los Angeles teachers protested for a week and the effects impacted a multitude of families and students. The week-long protest involved teachers demanding higher salaries, more staff, smaller classes and more teacher funding for education. The protest ended Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2019 after the local government made an agreement to give money and funding to the teachers so they could return to their jobs and educate their students.   

During the past couple of years, the Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest public school district in the United States. Los Angeles has over 1,100 public schools in the district, with over a thousand schools. There are more than 26,000 teachers that have been hired to teach kindergarten through senior year in high school.

With 1,147 schools growing in Los Angeles, the school district over the years has enrolled over 650,000 students. With all the schools in LA, the school district has a budget of 7.5 billion dollars. With the entire budget getting split between the 1,147 schools, the teachers did not have enough money to afford materials for students.

The schools remained open, staffed by substitutes hired by the city, but many parents chose to keep their children at home, either out of support for the strike or because they did not want them inside scho

ols with a skeletal staff,” according to the New York Times.

The number of employees the school hired to fill the classes had have teachers protesting was not enough to sustain the education the students needed without their regular teachers. With not enough substitutes to fulfill the teacher’s job, students might not learn and might not understand what is going during the protest if they are young.  

“At nearby John Burroughs Middle School, the classrooms mostly sat empty Monday. Roughly 40 percent of the school’s 1,700 students showed up in the morning and were sent to the gymnasium, auditorium and multipurpose rooms to work independently on their s

chool-provided iPads. A school administrator and substitute teacher were stationed in each large space, trying to keep order for hundreds of children,” according to the New York Times.

With the school district not supplying as many materials, smaller classes and not enough support around the school, teachers have to pay with their own money for the proper school equipment. The Los Angeles area is a very expensive area to live in within the rural area. According to the Los Angeles Unified School District, the average teacher salary for 2017-2018 school year was around 75,000 dollars. That amount of money is 15 to 20 per

Teacher protests have been occurring across the United States, like in Wisconsin, California, Oklahoma and other states.

cent higher than the national average for teachers around the world.

“The deal includes caps on class sizes, and hiring full-time nurses for every school, as well as a librarian for every middle and high school in the district by the fall of 2020. The union also won a significant concession from the district on standardized tests: Next year a committee will develop a plan to reduce the number of assessments by half. The pro-charter school board agreed to vote on a resolution calling on the state to cap the number of charter schools. Teachers also won a 6 percent pay raise, but that was the same increase proposed by the district before the strike,” according to New York times.

Teachers at Athens Drive can connect to these types of deals and struggles in the school community. Athens teachers had the same type of protest in Downtown Raleigh on May 6th 2018 and some teachers have a say about the LA protest.

“I think from what I know that it seems necessary to have a protest, because the students in LA are not receiving adequate education from the lack of funding. The teachers strike brought attention and hope that they will get more money for better conditions at the school,” said Scott Maxwell, math teacher at Athens Drive.

The Los Angeles teacher strike ended Jan. 22 when the United Teachers Los Angeles Union (UTLA) reached a deal with the teachers for better pay, smaller classes and more help for the teachers.