LA Teacher Strike Sidelines 600,000 Students

Douglas A. McIntyre

Teachers at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have gone on strike to protest what they claim are classes with too many students. The United Teachers Los Angeles union called the strike. The walkout includes 31,000 teachers and affects over 600,000 students.

The school district had negotiated with teachers for more than 20 months before the talks broke down last Friday with no resolution for teacher demands for smaller class sizes, better pay and more support services.

LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner said Monday that the district is committed to ending the walkout as soon as possible, but he repeated his claim that LAUSD does not have the money to meet the demands. He also encouraged teachers to return to the bargaining table. If negotiations are picked up again, they won’t come before Tuesday evening.

Teachers in eight states went out on strike in 2018. The first occurred in February, when 34,000 West Virginia teachers walked out and stayed out for two weeks. Some 42,000 more in Oklahoma walked for 10 days in April. Strikes in Virginia (at a post-secondary school), Arizona and Colorado also ended in teacher wins. A bus-drivers strike in Georgia was defeated, and teacher strikes in Kentucky and North Carolina were essentially one-day walkouts that resulted in no changes. The longest recorded U.S. teacher’s strike occurred in Homer, Illinois, when teachers were out on strike for eight months (156 school days).

Here are the 10 largest districts in America:

District State Enrollment (fall 2014) Students in poverty (2014)
1. New York City NY 995,192 363,002
2. Los Angeles Unified CA 646,683 226,135
3. City of Chicago (SD 299) IL 392,558 127,717
4. Dade FL 356,964 105,733
5. Clark County NV 324,093 74,850
6. Broward FL 266,265 56,199
7. Houston ISD TX 215,225 76,608
8. Hillsborough FL 207,469 46,807
9. Orange FL 191,648 47,650
10. Palm Beach FL 186,605 41,536

Source: Nation Center for Education Statistics. Poverty is defined based on the number of persons and related children in the family and their income. See the Census web page for information on poverty thresholds.