UTLA reaches tentative agreement after six-day strike; CFA members lent strikers strong support

Los Angeles K-12 teachers were back in the classrooms today after a six-day strike that was strongly supported by California Faculty Association members.

United Teachers of Los Angeles reached a tentative agreement with the LA Unified School District and a “super-majority” of UTLA members ratified the agreement on Tuesday. Teachers struck over pay, class sizes, and adequate support-staff, including counselors and librarians, in the public schools.

CFA members from campuses across the Los Angeles region adopted a school where they joined local teachers on picket lines.

CFA activist and California Teachers Association Vice President Theresa Montaño said in an interview on KZSC Santa Cruz that the strike wasn’t just about working and learning conditions in Los Angeles. It was a struggle for “the health of the public education system in California.”

“What we consistently see is that as the students in state of California in our public schools become more black and brown, the funding decreases,” Montaño said. “We are one of the areas in public service that the privateers do not control. And they have their eye on us. They want to control the billions of dollars that are in public education.

“A part of the struggle is absolutely for the health of public education,” said Montaño, who taught middle and high school in Los Angeles before teaching at Cal State Northridge. “It’s against privatization. It’s against charter-ization. It’s against putting the students of color behind the more affluent neighborhoods. In this strike, the parents, the educators, the moms, the abuelitas, they’re on the picket lines with us. That’s the difference.”

L.A. teachers were outspoken about the importance of winning their strike for their students as well as for their own families.

Roxana Dueñas, a history and ethnic studies teacher at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, was so determined, she literally became a poster-teacher for the strike.

“I am inspired by the strike and all the support we received,” she said in an interview with the LA Times. “…We do things that are terrifying for the greater good.”

Click here to see KTLA-TV reporting and video of a news conference announcing the tentative agreement.