Communist Party agrees with UTLA: “Enough is enough!”

BY:Communist Party USA| January 14, 2019
Communist Party agrees with UTLA: “Enough is enough!”


Los Angeles kids need a first-class education.

After 20 months of unfruitful negotiation with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and what United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) calls “bad faith bargaining,” the 31,000-strong union has said, “Enough is enough!” It has called a strike of its members. In an August vote of the membership, a full 98 percent of union members voted to authorize a strike if bargaining continued to stall. A Dec. 15 rally in downtown L.A.’s Grand Park pulled out 50,000 teachers, parents, kids and supporters to show public support for the teachers’ demands.

In a last-ditch effort to avert a strike, which would affect the families of 600,000 children enrolled in Los Angeles schools, bargaining sessions were scheduled for Mon., Jan. 7 and Weds., Jan. 9 at union headquarters. With no solution, teachers were left with no other choice but to go out on strike on Monday Jan 14.

The labor action follows successful mass teachers’ mobilizations this past year in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado, Kentucky and elsewhere.

UTLA represents counselors, librarians and nurses aside from teachers. UTLA’s last strike took place in 1989 and lasted nine days.

The union points to a combination of problems, which have devastating effects on the children teachers are trying to educate for successful lives. For example, UTLA demands that LAUSD immediately:

  • use the $1.9 billion in unrestricted reserves for smaller class sizes; for more nurses, counselors, and librarians; and to fully fund our schools;
  • commit to more support for special education, early education, bilingual education, and adult education;
  • end the toxic over-testing of our students, which crowds out instruction in arts, music, ethnic studies, and science.
  • empower parent and educator voices at the school site with stronger Local School Leadership Councils; and
  • address the charter industry drain that siphons more than $600 million from our schools every year.

Good working conditions, including adequate pay and benefits, as well as good learning environments, including fully resourced schools and smaller class size, are inseparable elements in a well administered system.

The larger picture that extends far beyond the classroom walls is that LAUSD has been a battleground for years as wealthy industrialists, investors and funders bankroll campaigns for seats on the school board, favoring charter school advocates who essentially aim to destroy public education and the powerful teachers’ unions. It is an attack on the commonwealth that echoes throughout the United States.

Last May, a pro-privatization majority appointed corporate millionaire Austin Beutner as LAUSD superintendent. With no previous experience in the education field, he has proposed breaking up the L.A. schools into 32 “portfolio” districts with little or no public accountability or common standards.

Beutner is backed by real estate magnate Eli Broad and other wealthy individuals such as former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, the Walton family (of Walmart fame), and John Arnold, former Enron executive and hedge-fund manager. Privatizing public education is one of the top prizes in the neoliberal race to the bottom, exposing what was once the pride of our nation, our public school system, to the greed of corporate hucksters and profiteers in the Trump-Betsy DeVos mold.

Following the “portfolio model,” other cities, such as Newark, New Orleans, and Indianapolis have racked up such outcomes as increased school closings, heightened segregation and disparities between schools, overcrowded classrooms, outdated textbooks, and compromised learning conditions.

More than nine out of ten LAUSD students are children of color—Latinx, Asian and Black primarily. As spending decreases on this second-largest public education system in the country (after New York City), it is widely seen as a racial attack on the future for these 600,000 kids. Although it is the richest state in the country, California’s spending per pupil ranks only 43rd out of fifty. It ranks 48th in student-to-teacher ratios, and L.A.’s ratio is among the highest in the state, with classrooms of 45 students not uncommon.

Beutner and his supporters do not seem to be willing to make the education of our children such a high priority that it might require new ways of redistributing private wealth—that, after all, was created by the very working families whose kids are in public schools! As Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA, says, “We have watched underfunding and the actions of privatizers undermine our schools for too long. No more. Our students and families are worth the investment, and the civic institution of public education in Los Angeles is worth saving.”

The CPUSA well recalls that in socialist countries a commonly heard expression is, “There is only one privileged class of people here: Children.”

Los Angeles today is a testing ground for society to determine just how much of a priority it places on a full and rich education for its people as an investment in its future.

We cannot afford to squander our children’s future, because it is our entire collective future as a nation. We call upon administrative and legislative bodies on every level—city, county, state and national—to reprioritize budgets so that working people, including teachers, are treated justly and responsibly, and so that our children are properly prepared to make their contributions to the next generation.

We fully support UTLA in its heroic struggle to make this case before the American people.




    The Communist Party USA is a working class organization founded in 1919 in Chicago, IL.

    The Communist Party stands for the interests of the American working class and the American people. It stands for our interests in both the present and the future. Solidarity with workers of other countries is also part of our work. We work in coalition with the labor movement, the peace movement, the student movement, organizations fighting for equality and social justice, the environmental movement, immigrants rights groups and the health care for all campaign.

    But to win a better life for working families, we believe that we must go further. We believe that the American people can replace capitalism with a system that puts people before profit — socialism.

    We are rooted in our country's revolutionary history and its struggles for democracy. We call for "Bill of Rights" socialism, guaranteeing full individual freedoms.

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