Thursday, January 24, 2019

A New Social Movement in Los Angeles?

This is interesting.

At the Los Angeles Times, "How L.A. teachers scored a decisive political victory with strike":
Los Angeles is often criticized for its lack of public engagement and low voter turnout, and as a place where neighborhoods have a sense of community but the city overall feels fragmented.

But the nation saw a different side of L.A. when last week’s teachers’ strike galvanized the city. Thousands of red-clad teachers marched and rallied on the streets, drawing vocal support not just from residents and parents but from politicians and celebrities eager to back their cause.

By keeping a tight message and engaging parents, the United Teachers Los Angeles union and its president, Alex Caputo-Pearl, were able to highlight issues of inequality and L.A.’s struggling school system in a way that supporters hope has lasting significance.

Over the six-day walkout, teachers made the strike less about their salaries than about class sizes, services for children and the future of public education. Many parents in Los Angeles have fled traditional public schools in favor of charter schools, which are expanding rapidly across the city.

The strike may not have hurt the allure of charters to parents frustrated with the Los Angeles Unified School District. But it brought attention to the financial toll that defections are having on the school system and the difficult learning conditions, especially for students from lower-income families, in L.A. Unified.

The union’s message was that “public education is rooted in democracy and in the tradition of the school district,” said Charles Kerchner, a labor relations historian and professor emeritus at Claremont Graduate University. “They were actively selling this idea to parents, to the public.

“UTLA and Alex handled this brilliantly,” he added. “It almost became a movement.”

The long-term implications of the strike are unclear. The teachers union remains in an uncertain position, with half the current members of the L.A. Board of Education having been elected with backing from charter advocates. That could change in March with a special election for the board’s seventh seat.

Moreover, it’s hard to know whether other labor movements would have similar success without the issue of childhood education in the forefront.

Some see the teachers’ strike as a larger increase in political engagement that began with the election of President Trump in 2016 and the many protests that came with the blue “resistance” in California. That continued in 2018, when Democrats took several key House seats across the state in areas once considered safely Republican.

“You’re having a consecutive number of events where people are in the streets or supporting people in the streets,” said Jaime Regalado, professor emeritus of political science at Cal State L.A., adding that there’s a “spirit of resistance, a spirit of support” in California in the Trump era.

Time will tell how long this shift will last. Los Angeles has become notorious for its low voter turnout in local elections, which hit an all-time low of about 18% in the 2009 mayor’s race and was only 20% when Eric Garcetti was reelected.

Union leaders said preliminary counts show the agreement was approved by a large majority, but the contract between L.A. Unified and the teachers union wasn’t universally embraced by educators, and UTLA’s Facebook page was flooded with complaints Tuesday about the agreement. Some teachers complained it was vague on details and watered down. Also, gains were modest on reducing class sizes compared with what union leaders said publicly.

Still, the union achieved its goal, at least temporarily, of uniting parents, educators and their supporters. Downtown rallies backing educators over the last week followed several other recent marches in Los Angeles focused on gun violence and women’s rights.

The strike gained momentum as images of marching teachers spread, but parents also played a key role as they picketed alongside their children’s teachers or had their kids stay home...

I don't like teachers' unions, but I like school administrators even less. Thus I'm giving it up for UTLA, and especially for the families which might indeed see some improved services.

The school district's student population is more than 75 percent Latino. A lot of these students are the first in their families to get a grade school education, if not a majority of them. If these same students go on to college and graduate, their levels of education are light years away from their parents and grandparents, most of whom came to the U.S. as scrub-poor migrant laborers.

Do something for the people, the regular people, in this state for once. The Bay Area elites, with the Sacramento Democrat cronies, are killing California. And don't even get me going about the stupid Eric Garcetti Democrat-Party machine in Los Angeles. Ugh, the evil is through the roof with these ghouls.