‘If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher’ – L.A. School District Teachers’ and Workers’ Strike Is On

by on March 22, 2023 · 3 comments

in Education, Labor

By Colleen O’Connor

More than 1,000 campuses were closed Tuesday and Wednesday, affecting about 420,000 students in the nation’s second largest school district, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Tuesday at 4:30 a.m., more than 60,000 LAUSD workers and teachers began walking picket lines in the rain.

To which I respond, good for them.  It is long overdue.

If you can read this column THANK A TEACHER!

If you have a job, a skill, or even several degrees THANK A TEACHER!

If your child is learning as well as you did THANK A TEACHER!

Teaching as a profession (and all those underappreciated support staff, including janitors, teacher’s aides, kitchen help, servers, safety personnel, librarians, nurses, bus drivers and maintenance crews) deserve a pay raise and a lot more R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Put bluntly, teachers and their support staff are now the daytime cops.  The amount of violence, misbehavior, and unwieldy demands put on every classroom has multiplied exponentially in just a few decades.

This is not your father’s or mother’s classroom anymore.  Multiple languages, disabilities, cultural divides, and a basic disregard for the importance of learning (in overcrowded classrooms) amid a COVID-19 pandemic, entangled behavioral codes, crime, poverty, attacks on teachers (the most recent, the 6-year old that brought a gun to school and shot his teacher) have imperiled classrooms and entire school districts.

Against these odds, it comes as no surprise there is a shortage of teaches, just as with nurses.

As one teacher posted on her Facebook page, “I’m not a teacher — I’m a warden for future criminals!”

Along with teaching, they juggle the tasks of parenting, disciplining, counseling, and become familiar with behavior modification/de-escalation techniques. Furthermore, teachers have to remain conscious about their individual safety, which is not limited to student-on-teacher violence. Oftentimes, parents physically and verbally assault teachers.

On Monday afternoon, LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced that district schools would close due to the strike.  Watch the chaos that ensues.  One thing parents, businesses, police, daycare centers, food distribution programs and anyone else touched by daily life realizes is that schools and teachers are the under-appreciated glue that keeps society together.

Give them their due.  The pay raise they deserve.  Call it a “stipend” or “combat pay” as was the case in earlier unstable times.  But, give them the pay raise now.  Inflation, housing costs, and gas prices hit them, too.  It isn’t just the students who are living below the poverty line in Los Angeles.

SEIU employees, including custodians, bus drivers, teachers aides and others, are seeking a 30-percent raise, more staffing and more hours for part-time workers. The union says many of its workers are paid poverty wages of about $25,000 per year.

On Sunday, with less than 48 hours until the planned walkout, the California Public Employment Relations Board rejected LAUSD’s legal challenge to attempt to halt the strike.

On Monday afternoon, LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced that district schools would close due to the strike, issuing a tweeted statement on Monday afternoon, “Let’s continue to negotiate for as long as it takes for our students. We must avoid lost instructional and social and emotional development time.”

On Tuesday, thousands of the frustrated teachers and workers rallied outside the downtown L.A. headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday.

It is Wednesday.  Find the money.  Find the courage.  And provide some R-E-S-P-E-C-T that these underappreciated workers in education deserve.



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gravitas March 22, 2023 at 4:14 pm

And now: Denver school shooting. “Student who was patted down each day allegedly shoots 2 staffers at Denver high school”


Gravitas March 24, 2023 at 8:09 pm

Strike over. Striking workers score 30% pay hike in new deal with L.A. school district! and better health benefits for part-time employees.


Gravitas March 27, 2023 at 10:52 am

And now this…”.Three children, three adults dead in Nashville school shooting”


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