LA Teachers Strike as Democrats Charge Privatizing Investment Banker with Restructuring their Schools

Carol Ehrle |
MPP Media |

Join Us in Supporting the Los Angeles Teachers’ Strike

Los Angeles — This morning, 34,000 Los Angeles teachers walked out on strike to defend public education against the privatization agenda of Austin Beutner, a former investment banker and current superintendent of the L.A. Unified School District — the second-largest school district in the country.

The demands of the teachers’ union — United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) — include a 6.5 percent pay increase, smaller class sizes, more funding for school counselors, nurses, and librarians, and a cap on the proliferation of charter schools throughout their city

We urge all our supporters to extend your support to the Los Angeles educators, who are in the fight of their lives in defense of public education, the cornerstone of our democracy. At the end you will find a fundraising appeal from the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools (AROS), which is working in close coordination with UTLA and the American Federation of Teachers to raise funds to support the strike.

“The Stakes of the Strike Are Extremely High”

Editorial writer Danny Feingold, writing in the Capital and Main magazine (Jan. 10, 2019), described the meaning of this strike:

“The stakes [of the strike] are extremely high not only for teachers, students and parents in L.A., but for public education across the U.S. … Sometimes strikes are exactly what they seem to be – battles over wages and working conditions, with relatively few implications for anything or anyone else. But sometimes a strike is about something much bigger: a fundamental clash over vision and values, with repercussions that extend far beyond the warring parties. Call it a meta-strike.”

This is a “meta-strike” first and foremost because it is challenging the corporate drive — promoted by both Democrats and Republicans — to dismantle public education.

Superintendent Austin Beutner, a Democrat and former deputy mayor of Los Angeles who heads the school district, was not appointed to this position because of his academic skills: he never claimed to have any,” Feingold writes. “He [Beutner] is a businessman who made his fortune in an investment company, Blackstone, before founding Evercore Partners, an investment bank. And that is precisely why he was chosen: for his experience and qualities in the field of brutal restructuring in the private sector!”

“As a result,” Feingold continues, “Beutner has become the most popular figure in the nationwide movement demanding the uncontrolled restructuring of public schools. Beutner hired a consultant, Cami Anderson, who used to work in Newark, N.J., where she was the head of the city’s public schools. It had imposed a restructuring plan, organizing 32 ‘school networks’ that it managed like a portfolio of shares on the stock market. It resulted in keeping the ‘good’ schools, and simply closing the ‘bad’ ones, just as in the stock market one gets rid of unprofitable economic sectors.

“In Newark,” Feingold adds, “Anderson was behind the closure of many local schools, massive dismissals of teachers and principals … and finally a revolt by the parents of students who eventually drove her out of the city!”

The strike of the Los Angeles teachers is also taking on the L.A. Board of Education, which was bought in a multi-million-dollar election campaign funded by charter school foundations and other corporate entities (like the Eli Broad Foundation) — all of which got their head start under Arne Duncan, President Obama’s secretary of Education.

This is also a “meta-strike” because it extends the 2018 wave of teachers’ strikes that erupted in the “red states” (West Virginia, Kentucky Oklahoma, Arizona) into the “blue state” of California.

UTLA President Alex put it this way: “Educators across the country are rising up like we have never seen before. We find ourselves in a defining moment.”

It is, indeed, a defining moment for the entire labor movement. The strikers in the “red states” won most of their demands because of their tenacity. The obstacles in Los Angeles — particularly the obstacle of the Democratic Party — are perhaps greater. But with the support of working people and their unions and community organizations all across the country, the L.A. teachers can win their demands.

They must win!

The Organizing Committee of the Labor Community Campaign for an Independent Party (LCCIP)

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The following is a message from the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools:

National Call for Solidarity with the Strike of the Los Angeles Educators and Their Union (UTLA)

After nearly two years of bargaining, the teachers in Los Angeles walked out of their classrooms on January 14 in the first major mobilization for education justice of 2019.

This strike is about so much more than salaries. Teachers are demanding education justice. They want smaller class sizes, more counselors, librarians and nurses. They are demanding funding for community schools and less testing. They are demanding an end to disruptive and humiliating random searches of students in their schools.

This strike can be the opening salvo for a nationwide demand for the schools all our students deserve. We need you to help shine a spotlight on Los Angeles. Because in fact:

We Are All LA!

Here are three things you can do this week to help.

1. Give to the Los Angeles Teacher/Parent Strike Solidarity Fund

Reclaim Our Schools LA (ROSLA) is the labor/community coalition that has been ensuring that the demands and aspirations of students, parents, educators and school staff are at the forefront of the fight in Los Angeles. ROSLA will be engaging parents and community in support of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and the broader, collective campaign for the schools all our students deserve. ROSLA members will be on the picket lines, supporting the students, paying visits to decision-makers, and taking action against the billionaire corporate actors that are destroying public education in Los Angeles and in cities across the country.

AROS has helped establish a Solidarity Fund to support this work and make sure the demands being put forward in Los Angeles are heard across the nation.

Please make a contribution to the Solidarity Fund at this link.

For more information on ROSLA, go to

2. Share This Link Through Social Media

Please spread the word about the Solidarity Fund. Share the link with partner organizations, other education justice advocates, and on social media.

3. Wear Red

Take a selfie of yourself and your friends wearing RED and post it on social media.

Help us send our pro-education, pro-community schools, pro-justice message to reverberate all over the country on Thursday. Let us support the bold action of parents, educators, students and school personnel as they take to the streets in Los Angeles this week. Their struggle is our struggle.

We Are All LA!

Thank you for your help. Let us struggle in solidarity as we fight for justice, and for the schools ALL our students deserve.

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools