February 17, 2016Video
More than 20,000 UTLA members, parents, and students at schools across the District participated in the February 17 National Walk-In to "Reclaim Our Schools" to stand up for public education and against the billionaires' privatizing campaign. In a show of national unity, close to 200 LAUSD schools joined the Walk-In with a total of over 900 schools participating nationwide.
At 20th Street Elementary, where Parent Revolution has collected signatures for a Parent Trigger petition, children held colorful handmade signs praising their school and their teachers in a moving display of school pride. A positive and energized crowd chanted and walked into the school where the principal led a rally.
At Hamilton High School, students talked about their positive experiences at the school while asking for more resources. "We love our school, but we know it can be better. Our class sizes are way too large, averaging over forty students per class. I ask that you invest more in our public schools because it is not the system that’s failing, it is our failure—as a society—to fund the system.” said Karen Calderon, student in Communication Arts Academy at Hamilton. Great Public Schools Now, the organization created to advance the Broad-Walmart privatization plan, showed they are clearly on the defensive by distributing press statements during the Hamilton Walk-In action claiming they are "expanding" high-quality public schools not "privatizing" them. We know their plans have not changed.
Among the speakers at Hamilton were Randi Weingarten, AFT President, Steve Zimmer, LAUSD Board President, and UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl.
Our schools built momentum for the Walk-In by meeting to design handmade signs and banners, and holding doughnut sales and other activities in preparation for February 17. Good-sized crowds gathered at every school with some having over 1,000 participants.