Just days after LA teachers declared victory in their strike for better classroom conditions and limits on charter schools, their colleagues in Denver — another "blue state" — have voted to walk off the job, with a very similar set of demands.
Last year's #RedForEd strikes were concentrated in Republican-dominated red states, but beating up on teachers and advocating through charter-school privatization of public system is a bipartisan disease, with many establishment Democrat backers.
California's not done, either: Oakland teachers have seen a steady decline in their funding and working conditions, a phenomenon that has tracked closely with the number of black and brown students in their classes (and the siphoning off of privileged and wealthier white students into charter schools).
ARLENE INOUYE: Yes, and we're excited for the educators in Denver that they've taken this step.
And I feel like what we've learned through the years is that when you communicate clearly what the message is and you reach out to parents and community, our collective power is what got us to win. We have a chapter leader in every single school. And we have teams now, organizing teams, at every school. And we have constant communication. I think, as you see, Amy, when you talk to anybody, any teacher or parent out there that were on the picket lines, they will tell you the same message, why we're fighting. And it's very clear to us.
And I think by being able to organize across the board and bring in the voices, the ordinary voices of our parents and our educators—and I, myself, by the way, am a speech and language specialist. I worked 18 years in L.A. Unified. And we have a diverse work—diverse membership, including speech and language, including health and human services, OT/PT, you know, psychiatric social workers, and so forth. And sometimes these little groups feel like their voices aren't heard. But we were able to give—we were able to draw attention to all of the needs in our schools, all of the professionals, and also the students, of course, and what they need, and really lift this up and to see it as an issue of social justice in our schools.
We were also able to bring in some nonmandatory subjects of bargaining into our schools, which we call common good issues, like green space on campus, stopping the criminalization of youth through the wanding. We were able to bring in an immigrant defense fund. We're making a statement of our values and of what's critical for how our schools need to address the needs of our students.
(via Naked Capitalism)