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LAUSD Protest Recap: What the Students Need

By Emelie Cuellar

LOS ANGELES, CA - Following the protests in March, teachers and staff reached a contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The contract has a 21 percent pay increase and other benefits. Besides salaries and benefits, there’s a need for better student resources.

Photo Credit: Emelie Cuellar, LAUSD protest

Besides teaching, teachers also create a learning environment for their students. It proved difficult without the support of the school district.

“They're also struggling…because we can't be at our best, the kids really suffer because we can't be there as much as we'd like to,” says Stephanie Fajardo, a teacher. “Students need a lot of social and emotional help, like psychologists, counselors, things like that”

Global program Educate A Child wrote that students in the education system need human, material, and financial resources. Before the protests, teachers say they paid for the resources out of their own pockets– on top of their bills.

“I buy folders, notebooks, pencils, erasers, paper, white board, I mean construction paper, markers, paint…,” says Bridgette Campbell, a teacher. “I haven't added it up, but I spent at least 100 [dollars] a month or probably more.”

A report by the United Teacher's L-A organization "Burned out, Priced Out" reports that 70 percent of educators in the school district wanted to leave their jobs last year. According to the report, 28 percent of teachers had another job to make ends meet.

LAUSD fulfilled the solution of better salaries– but the other? According to the report, it’s to have smaller class sizes, making teachers attentive to their students’ needs.

“We don't have enough staff…”, says Jennifer Pointer, a teacher. “I'm here for smaller classes. I mean 30 in a class and I have a class where I have 24 kids but about 9 of them have special needs so it's just one teacher.”

On the LAUSD website, programs are listed for students who need specific help and support. It includes programs for academic achievement to services for students facing foster care or homelessness. LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a statement that in the most difficult times, they will provide support for their students.

“We need more help, more help to really get our students to where they need to be,” Pointer said.

Emelie Cuellar video report

By Emelie Cuellar

Contributions: Educate a Child, United Teacher’s LA, LAUSD, LA Times

Photo: Emelie Cuellar

Video: Emelie Cuellar


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