The on-again, off-again, on-again LA teachers strike which started again on January 14 isn’t just about increasing teacher salaries and hiring additional staff members. The LA teachers union is also demanding a crackdown on successful charter schools in the local area.
While about 30% of students in inner city schools are proficient in math, the same can be said of only 22% of LA students. Given this fact, it is not surprising that close to 250,000 students have either left the district or joined charter schools since 2003. In fact, there is currently a waitlist for kids to get into charter schools in the local area.
Naturally, the explosive, successful growth of charter schools in Los Angeles is enraging the city’s teachers union. Along with a host of other conditions, the union is demanding that the district pressure local lawmakers to limit charter school growth.
Of course, the union would never admit that it is actively asking lawmakers to stunt the growth of charter schools in order to limit or even eliminate the competition. Instead, the union is stating that it is demanding “accountability for charter schools.” However, given the fact that charter schools in the area are successful while public schools are not, it is hard to see why it is charter schools that need to be held accountable.
It would seem that Los Angeles’ best bet would be to expand successful charter schools so that local children can receive a high-quality education that their parents approve of. Unfortunately, that is highly unlikely to happen as local officials are more concerned with how to distribute additional funding to the public school system than with providing a good education. In fact, officials negotiating with the teachers union have already agreed to rigorously supervising charter schools. They will also raise teachers’ salaries by 6% and the invest more than $100 million into the failing public school system in order to hire more workers and reduce class size.
Even with unionists getting seemingly everything they asked for, these compromises aren’t enough. The union is incensed that the potential raise for teachers would result in a cut to future health care benefits. They’ve also begun demanding a 6.5 percent raise, stating 6 percent isn’t enough.
Sadly, it isn’t just public officials who are putting a priority on funding. The teachers union recently increased dues by 33% in order to make up for a funding shortfall caused by a decline in membership. It is likely that the union president is under pressure to show union members that the union is actually doing something on their behalf; otherwise, more members could leave.
Unfortunately, it is the parents and children who have to suffer while both sides squabble over funding, benefits and oversight. While the district has announced that it has hired substitute teachers and certified employees to temporarily take the places of those who are on strike, children and teenagers who are already struggling are certain to struggle even more without the assistance of their regular teachers. This is particularly true for special needs children who need consistent care.
It’s a sad day for America when local politicians prioritize the needs of adults who agreed to be public servants over the needs of children they are supposed to help.
~ Conservative Zone