With a massive outpouring of community support, a new generation of teachers shut down the country’s second-largest school district in a fight for the future of public education. UTLA members launched their first strike in 30 years to deliver “the schools our kids deserve.”
A week later they were well on their way.
By Sarah Ringler, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers, Retiree Chapter
Evidence shows that teachers are stressed. A 2017 survey in British Columbia found that two-thirds of teachers felt “stressed and emotionally exhausted all, or most of the time. In the United Kingdom, 86 percent of teachers reported increased workplace stress. In the United States, 40 percent of teachers quit teaching within five years, leaving schools with inexperienced teachers who often are assigned to teach the most challenging and vulnerable students.
On February 25, CFT joined fellow educator and school worker unions, the NAACP, and several concerned state lawmakers to announce proposed legislation that would fix the laws governing charter schools in California. The legislation, Assembly Bills 1505, 1506, 1507, and 1508, would ensure charter schools were accountable to local communities and neighborhood schools.
Stephanie Rosenblatt, president of Cerritos College Faculty Federation, and a librarian at the college, has seen what happened to counselors in her district when performance metrics were imposed on them.
“Working for a small district has its pros and cons,” said Carl Williams, “but it’s mostly pros.”
Williams is president of AFT Local 4529, the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees. The federation represents about 450 staff in the Lawndale district’s six elementary and two middle schools.
UC librarians and their union, the University Council-AFT, has three priority issues in the negotiations of their contract with university administrators: salary and economic issues, academic freedom, and temporary librarians.