The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second-largest, shut down Tuesday on the first of a three-day sympathy strike by teachers who support a 30% plus $2 pay rise. ‘hour “fair wage adjustmentfor janitors represented by the powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Keeping children out of school has become the specialty of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). The union went on strike to six days on contract negotiations in January 2019, then successfully lobbied LAUSD management to keep school buildings closed for more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic, despite Southern California’s reputedly temperate and airy climate.
Even more students would have been turned away from school if the pesky legal system hadn’t gotten in the way of teachers. In the fall of 2021, as part of the long-awaited full reopening of government-run public schools, LAUSD imposed one of the only vaccination mandates in the country for students 12 and older. This requirement was to be reinforced by the physical ban on about 34,000 unvaccinated students in December 2021, but the district postponed the application to the last minutethen was successfully continued by the parent of a non-compliant 12-year-old child.
Despite some setbacks, UTLA has received a remarkable number of concessions in the time of the pandemic – a supplement Monthly child care allowance of $500, mandatory weekly tests students and staff, exterior masking requirementsAnd so on.
In Completely Related News, LAUSD Schools Face chronic absenteeism“astonishing declines in school performance“, and registrations drop by 4 percent, 6 percentAnd 2 percentwhich—because school funding is tied to enrollment—sets the district’s budget situation to be what Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has describe as “Armageddon” and “a hurricane of massive proportions”.
The erasure of the inscriptions was numerically impressive to see. Twenty years ago, LAUSD sharp to 747,000 K-12 students, almost all of whom were taught by the government-run monopoly staffed by union staff. 10 years ago, that figure had fallen to 656,000, of which 567,000 (or 86%) were in traditional schools, the rest in independently run charters. Today, LAUSD-run schools educate only 422,000 children and charters up to 113,000.
Falling birth rates, slowing immigration, unfavorable housing prices and stagnant population growth are all contributing to the shrinking student pool, but as evidenced by the explosion in charter, families who have the opportunity to escape from their union school take it. And thousands of children simply missing.
What makes the post-2002 enrollment plunge not just an advertisement against public sector unionism, but a city-wide injustice-creating catastrophe of mindless central planning, is that the LAUSD has launched in a prominent project of 20 billion dollars.abuse school building frenzy – characterized as “the largest public works project in the western United States“- circa 2002. Hundreds of businesses, over a thousand residents of affordable housing, the historic Ambassador Hotel and beloved Hollywood Star Lanes (from The great Lebowski fame) … all bulldozed by the government in order to educate non-existent children.
“The impact on this town is monumental,” said then-school superintendent Roy Romer. gushed on the construction frenzy too gullible Los Angeles Time in 2004. “It will literally change the face of Los Angeles.” Not in the way he and virtually the entire political class in Los Angeles had expected.
You might think that UTLA would be a little more coy about once again closing its horribly successful and increasingly unpopular schools whose dwindling student numbers bear the scars of these last three rotten years. In other words, if you haven’t paid attention to teacher unions. The best that can be said about this week’s outrage is that it hastened the evacuation of government-run K-12, the reduction of funding available for union teacher jobs and the explosion of school choice. I hope these short-term payments were worth it long-term institutional self-destruction.
Related: “What really caused teachers in Los Angeles to go on strike.”