It was their first strike in 30 years. In Southern California, where rain is known to be rare, Los Angeles’ teachers walked out of their schools Jan. 14 in a downpour that kept right on pouring, day after soggy day.
Still, they picketed and rallied and marched. They put on ponchos. They held umbrellas in one hand, signs in the others. They slipped plastic bags over their handmade protest messages or laminated them to withstand the wet. They sang and chanted and danced in rubber boots. And they shared their personal experiences with everyone who would listen — describing classes with too many children in them and schools without nurses or librarians.
Parents joined the picket lines. So did students. Schools all but emptied out in their absence. Students who did go to school were supervised by the few staff on hand often in large groups, in auditoriums or gyms.
Six school days in, United Teachers Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District announced on a sunny Tuesday that they had reached a tentative agreement that made inroads in the areas teachers spoke most passionately about.
Big problems remain — topmost that there isn’t the kind of funding for schools that both sides agree they deserve.
But the strike caught the attention of the city. It got people looking and talking and noticing. Here is some of what they saw when they did.