Elizabeth Rietz says it hasn’t been easy taking care of her daughter at home during the first two days of a strike by Los Angeles teachers, while she and her husband try to start their own clothing line. But she believes it’s the right thing to do.
Like many parents Rietz, whose daughter is a 4th grader at Ivanhoe Elementary School in the middle-class Silver Lake neighborhood, has taken on the extra burden in solidarity with 30,000 teachers demanding higher pay, smaller class sizes, more staff and less testing.
“We’re choosing to struggle because we support the teachers. And we would rather struggle at home and try to entertain our daughter while we work, so that we can send a message to the district that we believe that class sizes should be reduced,” Rietz, 42, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Los Angeles Unified School District officials have kept its 900 schools open during the two-day strike using administrators and substitute teachers, mindful that working-class parents cannot afford child care.
But only about a third of the district’s 492,000 students turned up on the first day of the work stoppage, many parents choosing to keep their children home. The Los Angeles Zoo, La Brea Tar Pits and area museums have offered free admission to students during the strike.
Even with attendance down sharply, limited staffing meant schools gathered students in gymnasiums for “independent study.”
The walkout entered its second day on Tuesday, three days after negotiations broke down over a new contract and with no new talks scheduled between the district and United Teachers Los Angeles.
UTLA negotiators have demanded a 6.5 percent pay raise. Teacher pay currently averages $75,000 in the district, according the California Department of Education. The district has offered a 6 percent hike with back pay.
Rietz is among a group of Ivanhoe parents who decided in discussions on social media to keep their children home.
Michelle Crames, 42, said she kept her 4th grade daughter home from Wonderland Avenue Elementary School while sending her other two children to class at Larchmont Charter School.
The expansion of charter schools has been a sticking point in negotiations. Union negotiators say they drain higher performing students and their more engaged parents from traditional campuses.
“I think the charter parents are very informed, a lot of us work very hard for our schools,” Crames said. But Crames agrees with teachers that class sizes should be smaller.
She said keeping her daughter home was a gesture of support for the walkout, which she could offer because of the “privilege” of her economic stability.
Her daughter was spending the week building her own computer.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; editing by Bill Tarrant and Grant McCool
Trump holds large rally in Georgia — one day after the Peach State set a new coronavirus record
President Donald Trump departed the White House on Saturday for an evening campaign rally in Georgia -- despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump is ostensively making the trip to support Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and interim Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in the January runoff elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate. However, Republicans fear Trump will use his speech to continue bashing GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.
Trump's visit also comes against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
Panicked Republicans ‘working frantically behind the scenes’ — but Trump just keeps attacking GOP Gov Brian Kemp
Republicans are worried that President Donald Trump will pour gasoline on the intraparty inferno burning in Georgia.
Trump is officially traveling to the Peach State for a rally in support of the two Republican senators in January runoff elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate.
Republicans worry Trump will continue to attack Republican Gov. Brian Kemp as he has on Twitter.
"Trump is to headline a campaign rally for Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the state Saturday night — his first major political event since before the Nov. 3 election. GOP officials are working frantically behind the scenes to try to keep the president on script at the rally, worried that he will use the forum to attack Kemp and other state GOP officials who have resisted his pressure, according to a person familiar with the discussions," The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Trump ‘facing a rapid decline’ as he wallows in ‘rage and denial’ over election loss: report
President Donald Trump's mental health since losing the 2020 presidential election was the focus of a new analysis by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker that was published online Saturday.
"Over the past week, President Trump posted or reposted more than 130 messages on Twitter lashing out at the results of an election he lost. He mentioned the coronavirus pandemic now reaching its darkest hours four times — and even then just to assert that he was right about the outbreak and the experts were wrong," Baker reported under the headline, "Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial."