Before reading the article:
What is the quality of life for teachers in your school? What do you think are the most challenging aspects of their job? Do you think your teachers are treated fairly?
How would you feel if they went on strike for better working conditions?
Then, watch the video above documenting the 30,000 Los Angeles public-school teachers who went on strike on Jan. 14, affecting 500,000 students in the second-largest district in the nation. What’s your reaction to the strike? What questions do you still have?
Now, read the article, “Los Angeles Teachers Strike, Disrupting Classes for 500,000 Students,” and answer the following questions:
1. Why are teachers on strike in the Los Angeles Unified School District?
2. How are schools able to remain open despite their teachers being on strike? What are the learning conditions in the schools for students without their regular teachers? Do you think learning is possible in these circumstances?
3. Why do district officials oppose the demands of the teachers’ union? How much of a pay raise have they said they are willing to offer?
4. Based on the article, what did you learn about the students who attend Los Angeles public schools?
5. What is the average teacher salary in Los Angeles? What is the average starting salary for new teachers? How do these averages compare with other school districts around the country and what are the challenges in making these sorts of comparisons?
6. How do class size and lack of school support personnel like counselors and nurses pose significant challenges for teachers in Los Angeles? How do these average class sizes compare with those in your school?
7. Susie Chavez, a parent, said she would keep taking her children to school no matter how long the strike went on because “the teachers are on strike, not my kids.” Do you agree? Do you think parents should send their children to school when their teachers are on strike?
Finally, tell us more about what you think:
— What is your reaction to the teacher strike? Do you support the teachers? Or do you think they are hurting the education of their students? How do you think the strike should be resolved? What solutions would you recommend?
— How do teaching conditions in your school compare with those in the Los Angeles Unified School District? Do you think the teachers in your school or district are treated more fairly? Are there areas for improvement?
— The video above notes that there were large-scale teacher strikes in six states last year. In the video, striking teachers chant: “When students and teachers are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.” Do you feel teachers are under attack? How would you describe attitudes toward teachers in the United States. Do you feel our country respects and values teachers? Why, or why not?
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News