Jan 21, 2019
At 7 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14, over 30,000 striking Los Angeles public school teachers began to picket their schools. Thousands – students, parents and other school workers – joined them on the picket line despite heavy rain.
The rain did not let up for four days – nor did the energy and enthusiasm of the teachers and their supporters. On Monday, Tuesday and Friday, over 50,000 people each day packed downtown L.A. for mid-morning rallies. So few teachers crossed the picket line that district officials have been refusing to release the number of teachers who reported to work.
The main demands of the teachers are about staffing – reduced class size, more school nurses, librarians and guidance counselors. This certainly strikes a chord with working-class parents.
Parents kept their children out of school in large numbers. Attendance was less than 30 percent on Monday, and got even lower on the following days. On Friday, only 85,000, or 17 percent, of the 500,000 students affected by the strike showed up at school.
It certainly is difficult for working-class parents to get child care, or forego the free or reduced-price meals, which more than 80 percent of LAUSD students receive. It is a sign of the strong support the teachers enjoy in the working-class communities their schools serve.