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Opinion

Readers React: To LAUSD teachers, this strike is about everything that’s wrong with privatizing education

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Teachers and their supporters picket outside Roosevelt High School at the start of strike in the L.A. Unified School District on Jan. 14.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The teachers’ strike in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which began Monday, is about so much more than budgets at this point.

We educators know in our hearts that this moment in history will never be forgotten by our students. We are modeling the behavior of citizens who have decided to take a stand against the privatization of our public schools. We are protesting against those who are eager to make a profit from the services we offer.

We are saying no to turning education into big business. Please stand with us at this historic moment.

Leslie Hemstreet, Los Angeles

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The writer is an LAUSD teacher.

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To the editor: Teachers union President Alex Caputo-Pearl continues to mislead the residents of Los Angeles and the parents of students about the Los Angeles Unified School District’s budget reserve.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education, two reports from an independent financial commission (which included the former state treasurer and state superintendent of public instruction) and the nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office have said that LAUSD is in financial peril.

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The district simply cannot afford Caputo-Pearl’s demands. Just as the Los Angeles Times fact-checks President Trump, it should do the same for Caputo-Pearl’s misleading claims about the district’s finances.

Supt. Austin Beutner is right to hold firm to protect the students and the finances of the district.

Julie Justus McGinity, Redondo Beach

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To the editor: I’ve heard lots of interviews about the issue of class size, but no one has framed it as an issue of “working conditions.”

When classes get too big, there is a breakdown. In a one-hour class with 25 people, how much time can a teacher give to each student? The math is easy.

Now, set aside time also for common courtesies — like saying “hello” at the beginning — presenting new material, reviewing previous work and taking attendance carefully, there is very little time for one-on-one interaction, the kind of personal communication that inspires and motivates.

Teachers develop strategies to get around the time crunch. It’s always there. But when a classroom fundamentally breaks down, the teacher is no longer the pack leader.

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It doesn’t take too much of this to cause a teacher to leave the profession — because the working conditions are intolerable.

Judith Anderson, Montrose

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