480,000 students affected as Los Angeles teachers go on strike for better wages, conditions
For the first time in 3 decades, over 30,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School district went on strike for higher wages and better conditions after almost two years of negotiations between the United Teachers Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.All schools except for preschools and early education centers still opened at 8 a.m.
The district hired 400 substitute teachers, parent volunteers and over 1,000 administrators to assist in classrooms. However, protests began at 7:30 am as parents and students joined teachers outside school classrooms. About 480,000 students are served by teachers in the LAUSD region, the second largest public school district in the country, but only 141,630 students attended classes on Monday.
According to the CBS Los Angeles affiliate, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner told reporters on Monday, “Some schools are well-attended, some schools are less well-attended.”
The Los Angeles police department also came to provide security.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “LAPD took resources that usually are on desks — these are folks that are out on the field working as detectives — and we covered 369 elementary schools throughout the city of L.A. and L.A.’s jurisdiction.”
The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) President Alex Caputo-Pearl said, “Here we are on a rainy day in the richest country in the world, in the richest state in the country, in a state that’s blue as it can be — and in a city rife with millionaires — where teachers have to go on strike to get the basics for our students.”
Senator Kamala Harris of California voiced support of the teachers’ strike through Twitter, writing, “I’m standing in solidarity with them as they strike for improved student conditions, such as smaller class sizes and more counselors and librarians.”
Los Angeles teachers work day in and day out to inspire and educate the next generation of leaders. I'm standing in solidarity with them as they strike for improved student conditions, such as smaller class sizes and more counselors and librarians. https://t.co/WcUdrSOk7D
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 14, 2019
While the average teacher salary in Los Angeles Unified district was $75,000 during the 2017-2018 school year, the salary is outpaced by the expensive costs of living in a high-priced and fast-paced city, and pales in comparison to the average salaries in other expensive cities, such as New York and San Francisco.