After a lengthy process of contention and revision of the collective bargaining agreement between the Los Angeles County Teachers Union and the Los Angeles Unified School district, tens of thousands of members of the teachers union took to the streets in protest. Substitute teachers who regularly work in the district refused to replace their colleagues in the classroom. After 7 days of demonstration and strained negotiation, an agreement was reached. This agreement included more nurses, counselors and librarians, smaller class sizes…and of course higher pay. Citizens, parents specifically, are not thrilled about this decision. It comes at the expense of city funds and higher taxes. A victory indeed for unions and educators in Los Angeles, but what are the social costs of this issue? Who really wins, and who really loses? This is not a new phenomenon. 2018 saw several significant teacher strikes, with some taking place across entire states. Educators are finding it increasingly necessary to communicate their needs and the needs of their students through demonstrations. What does that say about the state of education?
Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. In addition to the resources provided below, the deck contains discussion questions, an in-class activity, an online activity, and assessment questions.
Learning Objective 1: Discuss the dimensionality of the social factors that are related to the Los Angeles teacher strike.
Learning Objective 2: Understand that modern educational institutions are based on capitalist models that influence labor relations and working conditions that can be influenced by race, social class, and/or gender.
Lindsay Schnell, Chris Woodyard, “Backup child care, attendance confusion: Low-income families and the LA teachers strike” (USA Today, Video/Text)
Emily Elena Dugdale, “LA Teachers Strike: Spanish-Speaking Parents May Be At A Disadvantage” (NPR, Audio/Text)
Alia Wong, “The Unique Racial Dynamics of the L.A. Teachers’ Strike” (The Atlantic, Text)
David Dayden, “‘Welcome to the revolution’: LA teachers strike pits working-class power against privatization” (Salon, Text)
Mary Harris, “What Are L.A. Teachers Fighting For?” (Slate, Audio)
Sarah Jones, “With Teachers’ Strike, L.A.’s Long-Simmering Charter-School Battle Comes to a Head” (New York Magazine, Text)
Elissa Nadworny, “Movies, Worksheets, Computer Time: Inside LA Schools During The Teacher Strike” (NPR, Audio/Text)
Holly Yan, “The LA teachers’ strike has cost $97M. Now both sides are negotiating again” (CNN, Video/Text)
Holly Yan, “What LA teachers won with their strike — and why some parents aren’t thrilled” (CNN, Video/Text)
Max Rivlin-Nadler, Scott Heins, “On the Picket Line With the LA Substitute Teachers Who Refused to Scab” (Splinter, Text)