As a resident of Los Angeles, I fully support the Teachers Strike in Los Angeles. So I’m happy that Democracy for America is helping keep up the momentum:
It’s a far too common scene in communities across the country: teachers are supporting larger and larger class sizes in understaffed schools; paying for basic supplies like pens, paper, and tissues; and struggling to make ends meet in both their classrooms and at home.
It’s happening in Los Angeles, and for the first time in over three decades, more than 30,000 teachers there just said ‘enough is enough.’
Yesterday, L.A. public school teachers began their strike for better pay, smaller class sizes, more support staff like counselors and librarians, and the materials they need to do their jobs and teach our kids well.
As Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, teachers are the unsung heroes of American democracy, and it’s past time we give them the fair pay and resources they deserve:
Like Alexandria, we stand in solidarity with the tens of thousands of L.A. school teachers leading the charge for economic justice and better education. If you’re with us, add your name now to show these courageous educators you stand with them too.
Democracy for America stands with workers, period. We know that more often than not, education is the first thing to be slashed when budget cuts are being made, whether at the local, state, or national level — and especially now that GOP elected officials have secured massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
You see, Samuel, this isn’t just an education issue — it’s an inequality issue too.
When teachers aren’t paid enough to afford the cost of living, and when schools aren’t given the funding to provide our kids the support and supplies they need, our teachers struggle and our kids suffer. In L.A. for example, many teachers can’t even afford to live anywhere near the schools they work at, with some commuting an hour each way day in and day out.
Conservatives will try telling you that these teachers are greedy and their unions are evil, but we know the truth. Our teachers are financially hurting, our schools’ infrastructure is crumbling, and our kids aren’t getting the education they deserve because Republican officials have cut funding to the bone.
The only way we fix this — in L.A. and in communities nationwide — is to give teachers respect, a living wage, and the tools they need to succeed in teaching the next generation. And that starts with standing with teachers on the front lines.
Karli Wallace Thompson, Senior Digital Manager
Democracy for America
And today, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I. VT) is helping keep up the momentum:
There is something happening in Los Angeles that you need to know about and that we all need to do something about.
Today, for the first time in 30 years, more than 30,000 Los Angeles public school teachers are on strike fighting for smaller class sizes and decent wages, for nurses, counselors and librarians in their schools, and against a coordinated effort from billionaires on the right to make money privatizing public education.
Public education is fundamental to any functioning democracy, and teaching is one of its most valuable and indispensable professions.
So how is it that the top 25 hedge fund managers in this country make more money than the combined salaries of every kindergarten teacher?
How is it that the billionaires of this country get huge tax breaks, but our teachers and children get broken chairs, flooded classrooms and inadequate support staff in their schools?
That is what a rigged economy looks like.
In the richest country in the history of the world, our teachers should be the best-paid in the developed world, not among the worst-paid.
So I stand in solidarity with the United Teachers of Los Angeles. Because a nation that does not educate its children properly will fail, and I applaud these teachers for leading this country in the fight to change our national priorities. Today, I am asking you to do the same:
But what we really need in this country is a revolution in public education.
What we accept as normal today with regards to education, I want your grandchildren to tell you that you were crazy to accept.
And in my view, that conversation starts, but does not end, with early-childhood education.
That is not just my opinion. Research tells us that the “most efficient means to boost the productivity of the workforce 15 to 20 years down the road is to invest in today’s youngest children.”
So it is not a radical idea to say that we need to provide free, full-day, high-quality child care for every child, starting at age three, so that they will be guaranteed a pre-kindergarten education regardless of family income.
That is common sense.
But in the twenty-first century, a public education system that goes from early childhood education through high school is not good enough.
The world is changing, technology is changing, our economy is changing. If we are to succeed in the highly competitive global economy and have the best-educated workforce in the world, I believe that higher education in America should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few.
That means that everyone, regardless of their station in life, should be able to get all of the education they need.
Today in America, hundreds of thousands of bright young people who have the desire and the ability to get a college education will not be able to do so because their families lack the money. This is a tragedy for those young people and their families, but it is also a tragedy for our nation.
Our mission must be to give hope to those young people. If every parent in this country, every teacher in this country, and every student in this country understands that if kids study hard and do well in school they will be able to go to college, regardless of the income of their family, that will have a radical impact on primary and secondary education in the United States—and on the lives of millions of families.
That is what we can accomplish by making public colleges and universities tuition-free, because every American, no matter his or her economic status, should have the opportunity for a higher education. And, at the same time, we must substantially lower student debt.
But getting there will take a political revolution in this country, and a radical change in national priorities.
Instead of giving huge tax breaks to billionaires and profitable corporations, we must create the best public educational system in the country. Instead of major increases in military spending, we must invest in our kids.
And today, the most important step in that direction starts with standing in solidarity with the teachers in Los Angeles.
Through our support for these teachers, we have a chance to reaffirm our support for quality public education and the right of all children to receive the best education possible.
Thank you for standing with them.