Teacher Strikes Indicate Tough Times to Come

Tensions were strung to the max as around 10,000 school teachers and staffers orchestrated a sweeping walk out of America’s second-largest school district.  

The Los Angeles teachers demanded better pay, more positions for other clerical necessities and smaller class sizes.  

The District made concessions, yet the teachers said they fell far from the mark.  This disagreement led to encompassing reforms in education spending past domains of the LA district.

Contrary to previous walkouts in the red states of West Virginia,  Arizona and Oklahoma; this one is occurring in one of the bluest states.  

Deep set roots began to grow in 1978 with the Tax Payers Revolt of 1978 where taxation towards school funding was curtailed abruptly.

With this in mind, The Wall Street Journal reports the LA district sits atop a reserve of $1.8 billion, which catalyzed further inquiry on the use or lack thereof with spending.  

California ranks near the bottom of the list for per-student and similarly one of the highest student-teacher ratios.  These two facts in conjunction led to 98 percent of the staffers voting for a strike reported the LA Times.

Dominic Fike a local teacher at Benny Benson said, “Especially with poorer students, these kids bring in all of this excess baggage due to their less than favorable positions.  If we do not have the proper ratios or materials, we truly can’t accommodate our students.”

Reports from other teachers in California state some class sizes have leaped to 40 students.  In the whole LA district, there are roughly 300 teachers for 700 schools leading to a rotation of nurses out of necessity.

Jennifer Latva-Kiskola, a Benny Benson school nurse, said, “School nurses are a necessity, students will come in before school to receive penicillin and ADH medication;  this is daily.”

Daniel Booher, the current Mears nurse, also added, “Medical emergencies are a serious concern.  Will a teacher be able to administer first aid? Most likely not, it is not in the means of what is within their job.”  

With the rotation of school nurses, they would only be there once a week, which is, for the most part, negligent and dismissive to the needs and rights of students where they are supposed to be in a safe learning environment.

Funding is needed, and California is looking to finalize a proposal this upcoming week.  The ramifications may have already been sent into motion. As history entails, when some speak up about injustices others will follow.

This point operates as a caveat to previous negotiations and votes to alter the teacher contracts in the Anchorage School District.  Previous negotiations failed earlier this year for the new contract before the two parties came to an agreement that included more freedoms in the classroom, incremental increases in pay and increases in benefits in healthcare.

As previously mentioned, these events do not occur in a vacuum.  As the LA district convenes and produces a deal this undertaking will reverberate across the nation.  

With Colorado on the tipping point with there districts and reoccurring shortcomings in their districts.

Even with a deal on the table for the next three years, “It is a tough situation that we are in because money is tight and nobody wants to make cuts in other areas.  Even though it is nice to be able to reward our really dedicated, wonderful, talented, hard-working teachers with a pay raise as well as some other things,” said school board member Deena Mitchell from the Anchorage Daily News.

In this time of certainty stagnation has set in and debates have curtailed, forming a precarious future for the district and its funding, even with a deal on the table for the next three years.  These other states offer an eerie reminder that when both parties do not come to resolution actions become more detrimental and more extreme on both ends.