Los Angeles teachers and union staff returned to school Wednesday morning, hours after voting on a contract agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District that put an end to a strike that spanned six school days.
The tentative agreement, announced early Tuesday, followed an all-night negotiating session between union and district officials in which the groups sought to hammer out several issues that prompted educators to walk out of classrooms in their first strike in 30 years.
A line of cars stretched outside McKinley Avenue Elementary School in South L.A. as teachers and students arrived for what some expect to be a return to normal after days of uncertainty. One by one, students popped out of cars, vans and SUVs as parents walked along 78th Street holding their children’s hands and giving them kisses before watching the children run inside.
Braving rain, teachers carrying signs saying “on strike for our students” and umbrellas stood in picket lines Monday morning demanding smaller class sizes, more nurses, counselors and librarians, higher wages for educators and more accountability for charter schools. There were picket lines at 900 schools across the city, United Teachers Los Angeles union president and teacher Alex Caputo-Pearl said at a news conference Monday.
“Here we are in a fight for the soul of public education,” Caputo-Pearl said. “The question is: Do we starve our public neighborhood schools so that they are cut and privatized, or do we reinvest in our public neighborhood schools for our students and for a thriving city?”