Published: January 14, 2019
The question we face is “do we value our teachers?” In the midst of this strike, we need to continue to ask ourselves if we value our teachers and if so, how do we demonstrate that in supporting their pay and working conditions?
As a former LAUSD teacher and school counselor, I worked with some of the finest educators who made a difference in the lives of their students every day. Many of us faced managing classrooms in the midst of lockdowns due to gun violence in the community, increased responsibilities due to cutbacks, low pay, etc.
In the midst of this, our students were shining lights! They came to school to learn and we were entrusted to teach them and care for them every day. Ironically, my first full-time position in LAUSD started right after the big strike of 1989. I started as a full-time elementary school teacher in a South L.A. school and it was there that I learned how hard my new colleagues had to fight to earn a decent pay increase and better working conditions, such as reduced class sizes.
It is not easy to go on strike. Teachers in LAUSD are not taking this step lightly. They do care for their students and they do care that we all trust and support them as they fight for what they believe is the right thing for students. It is unfortunate that after 30 years they are at this place again, fighting for better pay and lower class sizes.
I hope we can all ponder the broader question of “do we value our teachers?” If so, the strike is only the beginning of what I hope is a greater discussion for our state to consider how we can support our public school teachers as they educate and inspire our students.