LOS ANGELES—Members of United Teachers Los Angeles are voting tonight on an agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District, following a historic six-day strike in the second-largest school district in the country. The LAUSD school board will do the same. Below is a statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:
“The agreement is a paradigm shift for the city and nation, as it makes a clear commitment to the resources and conditions necessary for teachers to teach and kids to learn in L.A.’s public schools. In addition to a 6 percent pay raise for the two-year agreement, it provides nurses in every school five days a week, lowers class size over the next several years, ensures school counselors for every 500 students, commits to new community schools and provides a process to cap charter schools. UTLA has endorsed the agreement, and if the response at today’s rally is a bellwether, the union’s more than 30,000 members will ratify it.
“This strike and the community support of the teacher strikers flipped the debate over public education in L.A. on its head. And the result is nothing short of a sea change for public schools and for educators in L.A. and in the country.
“With the support of parents, students, clergy and the entire union community, L.A.’s teachers helped inspire a reordering of the city’s priorities to finally put public schools first. And it took a strike to make the establishment see how much the public is really behind public schools and public school teachers.
“For the last 10 years, the political forces in Los Angeles haven’t valued public schools, nor respected the people who teach in them. But now, instead of fixating on testing, competition and accountability, these educators have focused a city—indeed an entire country—on the teaching and learning conditions our kids need.
“Every child has hopes, dreams and aspirations. But those aspirations don’t just happen simply because you wish for them—you need the power to secure the investment to fulfill them. This was a fight for the soul of public education. It was a fight to invest in public schools after decades of neglect, and while one contract can’t fix everything, this is a starting point. Teachers want what kids need, and today in Los Angeles, because of this struggle, teachers got a big step closer to securing what our kids need.”