In the United States, 2018 was marked by teacher strikes. The number of educators walking out of classrooms to demand better salary conditions, smaller class sizes and the increment of founding, has never been seen before.
In many U.S. states the 2018 teachers strikes resulted in progressive achievements. However, the struggle continues and there are teachers planning new strikes for 2019. Around 31,000 educators in the Los Angeles school district - the second biggest one in the country, are preparing a walk-out for January 10. This would be the first strike in the Los Angeles school district for 30 years. In 1989, over 20,000 teachers protested during a nine-day span.
This comes after the United Teachers of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified District failed to reach an agreement regarding important issues, including payment, testing, and class sizes - among others. "Unless these issues are genuinely addressed and reflected in a bargaining proposal, educators will be on the picket lines," union President Alex Caputo-Pearl said.
According to Caputo-Pearl, the teachers' unions have exhausted all the options, and "by dragging us through bad faith bargaining for 20 months and refusing to invest in our schools, the district has disrespected our students and disrespected us."
However, Los Angeles teachers will not be alone in the fight for better conditions. In Virginia and Oakland, teachers are also preparing strikes for January 2019, as negotiations have been exhausted.
Ms. Rozó is fighting for the schools her students deserve. We are Oakland Teachers. We are #strikeready.
In Oakland, teachers have been working without a contract since July 2017, and are asking for a 12 percent salary increase over three years and for class size reductions. Oakland's School District only offered a 5 percent increase and some class size reductions. According to the Oakland Education Association, the teachers' unions are planning a rally on January 12, when Oakland's 2,300 employed teachers will protest.
"We are fighting to end Oakland's teacher turnover crisis and to bring stability for our students. We demand a living wage, lower class sizes, and increased student support," Keith Brown, the president of the Oakland Teachers Association, said in a statement. Brown highlighted that "teachers are fed up with the poor working conditions and salaries, and with the learning conditions that our students are having to endure."
At the same time, teachers across Virginia state are preparing to rally on January 28. This march is being organized, mainly, by the grassroots group Virginia Educators United, who are demanding better payment conditions enough so they can reach the national average. There are around 90,000 teachers in Virginia.
"We refuse to permit our kids to go to schools where the buildings are collapsing, where teachers are overworked and under compensated, and where there are fewer and fewer resources every year," a spokesperson from the grassroots organization posted in early December.