Teachers Strike In LA
Budget protest takes L.A. teachers out of classrooms
Los Angeles—“ THEY SAY CUT BACK, WE SAY FIGHT BACK! They Say Our Way, We Say No Way! “
Thousands of teachers, parents,students and their supporters In a one-hour demonstration at the beginning of the day,picket outside schools in Los Angeles.
Converging at the Los Angeles High, Belmont High School. Fairfax High School, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex and Gratts Elementary School in Central Los Angeles held an hour long demonstration this morning to protest proposed budget cuts.
Banging pots, waving signs, shouting slogans to passersby and delaying the start of the school day as students in the nation's second-largest school district waited in gymnasiums and auditoriums and on athletic fields. Motorist hoked their horns in supports of the rallyist. By 9 a.m. most protests had wound down.
The demonstration, organized by United Teachers-Los Angeles, was intended to draw attention to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest budget, which provides a $193-million increase over last year's $56.6 billion in education funding.
Meanwhile the Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) a local alliance in central LA stood behind the teachers and the parents. Joining the pickets in Belmont and at Miguel Contreras Learning Center , the EPCC vows to support the fight against state cut backs.
LAUSD Response Lame
But L.A. Unified estimates that it will face a $353-million shortfall because the budget does not include a cost-of-living increase and cuts support to certain programs that will have to be paid with unrestricted general funds.
District officials said it was not immediately clear what affect the demonstrations had on student attendance or what the net financial impact of the day would be, given the fact that the teachers who participated forfeited an hour's pay.
The LA times said: “ The protest comes as the Board of Education prepares to vote on the district budget Tuesday. District officials have said that they hope to avoid cuts in the classroom, but that about 6,500 probationary teachers could be laid off, a possibility that the union has vowed to fight.
L.A. teachers union President A.J. Duffy called the coordinated demonstrations "a great day for the teachers of L.A." and said they might hold another protest before the end of the school year this month.However, Duffy, who joined about 75 protesters at Los Angeles High
Tenth-grader Gabriel Rivas was among the students who looked on with approval. "I think it's cool that they're exercising their right to protest," he said.
At Belvedere Elementary School in East Los Angeles, about 300 parents, teachers and students banged drums, shook maracas and hoisted bilingual signs reading "Save our schools," some hand-lettered in crayon and marker.
"This affects all of us in the state. It's worth losing an hour [of school] if it gets kids Schwarzenegger's attention, because if they take everything away that would be worse," parent Lizbeth Roman, 25, of East L.A. said in Spanish as she marched with her three children, chanting, "More money for education!"
A handful of teachers and volunteers at the school monitored about 300 to 400 students at a basketball court behind the school while younger students watched a movie inside. The teachers who monitored the students said they did so in solidarity with the protesting teachers to ensure the students were safe. Only children whose parents attended the protest were allowed to participate.
Edward Stepanian, a second-grade teacher who helped organize the protest, rallied the morning crowd with a bullhorn.
"We want more books, we want better classrooms, we just want what we need to give the students a good education," he said.
One of his students, 8-year-old Roberto Castaneda, ran up to him with a sign written in blue crayon that read: "Governor Arnold give us our money back stop stealing from our kids."
"More money for schools!" the boy yelled. "
For more information contact epcc at (213)241-0995 or email@ firstname.lastname@example.org