By Dan Conway and Jerry White in the USA today:
Striking teachers in Los Angeles are expressing their anger over being kept in the dark on the content of the closed door negotiations between the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union and school district officials, which began last Thursday under the auspices of Democratic mayor Eric Garcetti. While the mayor has indicated that a deal could be reached before Tuesday, neither side has issued an official statement on the talks.
The walkout by more than 33,000 teachers, which began on January 14, has pit educators in the nation’s second largest school district against the entire Democratic Party establishment, which has overseen decades of defunding of public education and expansion of charter schools and other privatization schemes. Teachers who have not had a raise in a decade are fighting for improved wages and school funding, smaller class sizes and to halt the expansion of publicly funded private charters that siphon off resources and students from the traditional public schools. …
A student at Pepperdine University getting a Master’s degree in education and a student teacher who has joined the teachers’ picket lines and rallies said he is upset by the confidential negotiations and that the “union should be transparent.” He also said he supports expanding the strike throughout California. …
Los Angeles teachers must immediately demand that all negotiations between the district and the union be live-streamed over the internet.
When in 1980 there were negotiations between the Polish government and striking workers of the Gdansk Vladimir Lenin shipyard, the workers demanded these negotiations should be live on TV; which happened. Western corporate media then applauded that transparency. Now, you don’t hear them about the desirability of similar transparency in Los Angeles; as now, the strike is not against a communist party-led government, a Cold War rival.
The details of any deal reached between the two sides must be provided in full to the teachers who then must have adequate time to read and discuss before voting.
To fight for this, teachers should form rank-and-file strike committees in every school and community. These committees should fight to spread the strike to Oakland and across the state and prepare a statewide and national strike to defend public education. …
The teachers enjoy overwhelming popular support, with polls released last week by Loyola Marymount University and the local news outlets showing more than 80 percent of Los Angeles area respondents siding with the striking teachers, and two-thirds saying they are not paid enough and that class sizes are too big. …
Both political parties can find trillions for endless wars, Wall Street bailouts, corporate tax cuts and “border security” to hunt down and terrorize immigrants, but they all say there is no money for public education, decent wages, health care and pensions.
That is why the struggle by teachers is a political fight against the entire economic and political system. The resources required to pay teachers a living wage, to hire sufficient staff, to vastly improve public education and put an end to poverty and homelessness can only be attained through a frontal assault on the private fortunes of the rich.
Los Angeles teachers have the right to know the details of the negotiationsÑ here.
Support for LA teachers’ strike. Students and the fight to defend public education: here.
Virginia and Denver teachers set to strike as educators struggles continue to spread: here.
West Virginia teachers angered over renewed attack on public education: here.
Lack of teachers, work overload undermine Dutch education system: here.