Los Angeles teachers battle privatization as union vies to be partner in LAUSD restructuring
18 January 2019
The strike by 33,000 Los Angeles teachers has brought to center stage the fight against the dismantling of public education by powerful corporate interests that enjoy the full backing of both big business parties. LA teachers are fighting not only to improve their wages, which have been frozen for a decade, but to beat back the drive to privatize public education, which has gone further in California than in most other US states.
While the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has made rhetorical criticisms of the “billionaire privatizers,” the fact is the UTLA, like other unions across the country affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), long ago dropped any opposition to corporate-backed “school reform” and the expansion of for-profit charter schools, which siphon off funding and students from traditional public schools.
On the contrary, the chief concerns of the AFT, NEA and their state and local affiliates has been to preserve and expand the financial and institutional interests of the union apparatus during this process of school privatization. This includes expanding the franchise of the unions into the charter school industry in order to gain access to a new source of dues income as the unions collude in shutting down public schools and laying off teachers.
On Thursday, the UTLA resumed talks with officials from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) under the mediation of Mayor Eric Garcetti. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl has presented the intervention of Garcetti and other Democrats, such as Governor Gavin Newsom and state school superintendent Tony Thurmond, as a…