January 14, 2020News
One year ago today, UTLA members stepped onto the picket line and into history, leading the largest educator strike in the US. When we showed up to our schools that first rainy morning, we knew we had put in the organizing work to win — but we did not yet know how successful our strike would be: that our numbers would build every day; that parent and community support would be passionate and widespread; that we would capture the national consciousness, including shout-outs on Saturday Night Live; and that eventually more than 60,000 people would join us in the streets of LA.
Your power on the picket line has changed the landscape of public education. Because of our strike we have already seen:
- Class-size reduction at every grade level, TK-12, through enforceable caps, which very few districts across the country have. Per our agreement, the caps will go lower each year between now and 2022.
- More counselors and teacher librarians, along with new teachers.
- Fewer Prop. 39 charter co-locations than at any time in the past ten years.
- A strengthened local, state, and national movement for education funding and against privatization.
But we know that saving the heart and soul of public education is not a fight we win in one strike or one year. To unravel 40 years of disinvestment and privatization, to build parent and community support and to keep moving forward towards fully funded schools, we organize in 2020 to:
- Enforce contract victories and score more wins. Contract reopener bargaining begins January 29. Our demands are for a fair pay raise, increased investment in bilingual education, more support for special education, increased health and human services staffing, and attention to class-size issues.
- Protect healthcare from cuts. Much of our success will depend on who is sitting on the LAUSD School Board in late 2020 when healthcare bargaining begins.
- Win four School Board seats. Every one of our candidates—Patricia Castellanos, George McKenna, Jackie Goldberg, and Scott Schmerelson—walked the picket line during our strike. Now, let’s walk and talk to voters for them. In January and February, every one of our schools needs to sign up for 2 chapter precinct walks on the weekends and 2 chapter neighborhood walks on Thursdays.
- Pass Schools and Communities First. The timing is right to have this game-changing funding measure on the November 2020 ballot, when the presidential election will boost turnout and voters will tilt progressive.
Be proud of your role in one of the most successful, inclusive and paradigm-shifting strikes in history. Let the energy from those picket lines continue in the work you do every day. Bring that resolve and determination to get our four school board candidates elected. Visit www.LATeachersChoice.org and sign your school up today!
Over the next six days, follow UTLA on social media as we commemorate every day of the strike. Post your own strike memories and photos with the hashtag #wearepublicschools, #StrikeAversary and #UTLAStrong.