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3 years since teachers hit the picket line, what’s next?

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Eagle Rock High School teachers on strike outside of the school in January 2019

It has been a jam packed three years for the teachers of LAUSD since they went on strike in 2019. UTLA teachers who fought for more nurses/counselors/mental health professionals on campus (and won), continued the fight for police-free schools by supporting the organization Students Deserve and advocated for their students throughout the two years of online learning. At the start of 2019 on January 14th, teachers, parents, and community members all across LAUSD went on strike in the pouring rain with demands to better LAUSD schools and made history on January 22nd when an agreement was made and demands were met.

Here are just a few of the demands the teachers were fighting for:

Full Contract Agreement

  • Nurse at every school everyday

  • Librarian at every high school everyday

  • 1 counselor for every 500 students and mental health professionals on campus

  • Lower class sizes (maximum 39 as compared 57)

  • Reducing testing

  • Ethnic studies class

Biggest Win on Strike

Thousands of LAUSD teachers participated in a monumental event when they went on strike. The demands that were met after six days were even more historic for teachers and their students.

Ms. Youngblood, photo by Karla Montoya

Ms. Youngblood was one of the many highly invested teachers at Eagle Rock who participated in the strike and when asked what the biggest win out of the strike Ms. Youngblood answered, “We showed the community that our fight is not a selfish one,” she goes on to say that “Yes - we [teachers] need healthy working conditions, but we are fighting for our kiddos' rights.” Mr. Kobaissi, another teacher at Eagle Rock agreed, saying that: “Teachers won the loyalty of the community.” Mr. Montemayor expressed that he felt the biggest win “was the elimination of section 1.5, which allowed LAUSD to increase class sizes whenever it chose to.” He later went on to explain that “Teachers got the District to agree that we must reduce class sizes so that students are able to be taught in rooms where students have space and teachers can pay attention to a reasonable number of students in the class.”

Changes at Eagle Rock Since the Strike

Mr. Kobaissi, photo by Karla Montoya

When LAUSD teachers went on strike there were multiple demands they had that would improve their schools and changes and improvements indeed started to occur after they won.

One of the teachers' demands was smaller class sizes, Ms. Youngblood said the reduction of class sizes made “it less overwhelming” on teachers and Mr. Hicks said the reduction of class sizes was “good for everybody, including students.” Mr. Kobaissi agreed and explained that Eagle Rock was able to keep “our nurse full time, we kept our librarian, and class sizes were lower.” Mr. Montemayor noticed “that teachers are a little less afraid to speak their mind and express their needs.

Ms. Hernandez, photo by Karla Montoya

Ms. Hernandez, an alumni and now a teacher at Eagle Rock said that “being able to reflect on when I was a student here and now a teacher, I can see that there has been a big effort to make sure that they are complying with the class limits.”

One of the demands that UTLA won was Community Schools; community schools are schools that have wrap-around services like health care, eye care, and social-emotional services for students and community members.

Mr. Montemayor, a special ed teacher, spoke to this by saying, “What Eagle Rock High School needs is to be designated a Community School. This was one of the outcomes of our Strike -- create Community School throughout Los Angeles, including ERHS.” he went on to state the status of ERHS becoming a much needed community school by saying, “ERHS is not currently a Community School, but I know they applied before, but did not get it. ERHS should apply again.”

Historic Memories

“When we fight… we win” was one of the chants that was yelled by thousands of teachers in the pouring rain when they went on strike and after six days won.