LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Teachers for three South Los Angeles charter schools who have been on strike for 10 days held a rally Thursday morning along dozens of student and parent supporters in attendance.
About 80 teachers have been on strike since Jan. 15 as they try and negotiate a deal with The Accelerated Schools founder and CEO Johnathan Williams. The teachers are represented by United Teachers Los Angeles — the same union which also represents the approximately 34,000 teachers in the L.A. Unified School District, whose own nine-day strike ended with an agreement Tuesday.
“While the LAUSD strike that had over 30,000 folks out on the street fighting for basic common sense demands, while that strike is over, the strike here at Accelerated is not, and we’re gonna put every bit of our power and influence here to support the educators, the parents, the students,” UTLA President Alex Caputo- Pearl said Thursday. “We’re going to make sure that Accelerated wins this strike.”
It is the first charter school strike in California history, according to UTLA.
Negotiations between teachers and The Accelerated Schools have been ongoing since April of 2017. Along with higher salaries and better health insurance, the union says a major issue has been teacher turnover. The Accelerated Schools average 30 to 50 percent turnover per year, UTLA said.
“You have had years where up to 40 percent of the educators have turned over from one year to the next, that is not what students need,” Caputo- Pearl said.
Two other related issues include binding arbitration and due process for teachers.
“It’s important that two out of the remaining key demands are not even financial demands, they are demands about basic respect and dignity: for binding arbitration and due process,” Caputo-Pearl said. “So educators cannot just be summarily let go at the end of a school year for no reason and no cause given.”
Attendance has been at about 50 percent since the walkout began.
“Accelerated Schools is disheartened that United Teachers Los Angeles leadership has called for a strike, putting our students and families in the middle of contract demands,” Williams said in a statement provided to CBS2.
Accelerated’s three schools, founded in the mid-1990s, have about 1,700 K-12 students, according to the Los Angeles Times.