Charter School Teachers go on Strike in Los Angeles, California

%22Maria+Corona%2C+center%2C+a+teacher+at+the+Accelerated+Schools%2C+a+group+of+public+charter+schools+in+South+Los+Angeles%2C+joins+fellow+educators+as+they+picket+outside+the+school+on+second+day+of+the+Los+Angeles+teachers%27+strike.%22%0ALos+Angeles+Times

Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times

“Maria Corona, center, a teacher at the Accelerated Schools, a group of public charter schools in South Los Angeles, joins fellow educators as they picket outside the school on second day of the Los Angeles teachers’ strike.” Los Angeles Times

Jasmeen Rivera, Reporter

After a six-day strike, teachers from multiple charter schools in South Los Angeles agreed to go back to work Wednesday after creating a new deal with the union and school district concerning pay wage. L.A educators were holding the schooling of 50,000 students and parents hostage in return for a higher paying salary. The walkout marks the first time any charter school organization has gone on strike in the state of California and the second to happen nationally. Thousands of teachers chanted and waved signs on a school campus, as they also spoke out on the turnover issues for teachers in Accelerated schools. Cars honked in support, as they passed by the event.

From 2016-2018, the turnover rate for Accelerated teachers in schools is %50. “Teachers leave and find better opportunities,” stated Kari Rivera, a first-grade teacher who took part in the event, “Better salaries, better health benefits, and better job protections.” Though some agree that with Rivera, Johnathan Williams, CEO, and co-founder of Accelerated schools, would challenge that statement: “Accelerated Schools is disheartened that the United Teachers Los Angeles leadership has called for a strike, putting our students and families in the middle of contract demands,” Williams disagreed. This remark comes after a three-year contract the union had agreed with the year before, which established 17% salary raise “which teachers now enjoy.”

After twenty-one hours of bargaining, leaders and educators came to a final contract. The new deal composed includes a %6 additional pay hike for teachers, as well as smaller classroom sizes over four years, according to the school district and union; however, the district supported the fact that the demands consistently requested by the union may leave the school district bankrupt. “The issue has always been how do we pay for it?” District Superintendent Austin Beutner states. “That issue does not go away now that we have a contract. We can’t solve 40 years of underinvestment in public education in just one week or just one contract.” The deal creates a shortage of half-a-billion dollars in the budget, which does not include the health care and pension for retired educators.

The deal is expected to be ratified shortly into the upcoming week or so, expiring in the month of June in 2022.