Before more than 30,000 educators in the Los Angeles Unified School District began their strike Tuesday, almost all of the letters we received on the impasse between United Teachers Los Angeles and the LAUSD expressed support for teachers (in fact, many of the letters were from teachers).
Now, with the walkout having lasted nearly a full school week, readers are getting impatient — both with the school district and, increasingly, with the teachers. Most of the letters we received this week still sided with UTLA and the broader movement calling for greater spending on public education, but the voices demanding an end to the strike and criticizing the union have grown in both number and stridency.
Arthur Christopher Schaper of Torrance is harshly critical of teachers with an agenda:
An L.A. Times article asked which side will come out from this strike stronger — teachers or the district?
There are two answers; the first is neither.
The district is losing money as more families leave the region because of high costs, crime and declining education quality. The teachers union is politicizing education, and no matter how this strike ends, the district will continue to lose students and funding.
The second answer: Everyone will benefit in the long run. Students who spend less time in L.A. schools will avoid left-wing indoctrination. The bloated, top-heavy district may finally get shuttered, and students will have an opportunity to attend better charter schools.
Alan L. Strzemieczny of Riverside does not buy arguments about class size:
Who among the working parents would turn down a 6% annual pay raise? This bump, along with generous medical and retirement benefits, is a dream that most workers do not realize.
And class size? Recently, I found my third-grade class picture taken in the 1950s. There were two teachers and 67 students. Somehow the instructors were able to teach us reading, writing and math, and they still had time left over for songs and recess. Our Chicago school sent qualified students to high school, and many of us graduated college.
The problem isn’t class size, it’s inferior teaching skills. It isn’t salary and benefits, it’s union leaders who convince their members that the district’s offers were not good enough.
Los Angeles resident Nanci Leonard writes about teaching larger classes:
After almost 40 years teaching English at four public high schools, I understood that the one key variable among the hundreds of classes that I taught was size.
When I began my career, my classes had up to 30 students. When I retired, it was up to 43 students. No matter how prepared, enthusiastic and devoted I was, I was never able to “connect” with every student in every class.
Smaller classes are essential to better teaching and learning.
A handful of readers made a point similar to Ellen Solomon of West Hills:
Forget putting the blame on Proposition 13. I thought the lottery was going to solve schools’ money problems.