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The LAUSD deserves a strike if it doesn't improve conditions for teachers and kids

The LAUSD deserves a strike if it doesn't improve conditions for teachers and kids
LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner visits San Fernando High School on Aug. 14. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Social studies teacher Glenn Sacks catalogs the ills that plague teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District in their efforts to educate children. As a retired LAUSD teacher, I experienced these same issues; the only difference is that class sizes appear to have grown.

Back in the 1980s, my middle school was part of a UCLA study to determine how much time a secondary school teacher spent in a typical week with each individual student. The study showed that each student received about five minutes of personal attention per week. My classes in those days averaged about 30 students.

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For the district to have increased some class sizes to 40 or more kids does a genuine disservice to them. And with the other campus shortcomings in staffing and services, it is no wonder that progress in student achievement is limited.

Supt. Austin Beutner cannot label himself the chief kid advocate while ignoring teacher experience and allowing these conditions to continue.

Arnold Tosti, Sunland

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To the editor: In a series of comprehensive, thoughtful reports, the non-aligned, well-respected LAUSD Advisory Task Force outlines the enormous fiscal crisis facing the district.

Without significant budgetary changes, the district will be out of money and likely facing bankruptcy by 2021. The teachers’ union may believe the reserve, which is currently being spent down, is higher than $1.2 billion, just like I can believe in the existence of pink unicorns.

But the numbers are the numbers. Whatever UTLA thinks a strike will accomplish, it will not help students and it will not help address this coming fiscal calamity.

Gregory McGinity, Redondo Beach

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To the editor: My wife and I are both retired LAUSD teachers, and we’d like to commend Sacks for his excellent rationale for a strike vote.

We both went on strike for nine days in 1989. There was great financial risk, but in the end we came out ahead.

The only thing that district management understands is power. It always starts negotiations by playing hardball.

Yes, there will be scabs and freeloaders who will cross the line. And no, the eventual raise in salary and improvements in the working and learning environment will not equal what is really required, but there will be rewards.

To those teachers who say they can’t afford to go on strike, I say they can’t afford not to fight.

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George Ljubenkov, San Pedro

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