Los Angeles teachers’ union says campuses should stay closed for start of school year

Students at Girls Who Code, Feb. 12, 2020 (Photo. Facebook)

The union that represents teachers in Los Angeles, the second-largest school district in the country, said late Thursday that it wants school campuses to stay closed in August when the 2020-21 academic year is scheduled to begin.

The decision by the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the first big union to call for schools to stay closed, came at a time when novel coronavirus cases in California are soaring. It was a clear rebuke to President Donald Trump, who this week demanded that all schools reopen fully and threatened to cut their funding if they don’t.

“It is time to take a stand against Trump’s dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students, and our families at risk,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement. “We all want to physically open schools and be back with our students, but lives hang in the balance. Safety has to be the priority. We need to get this right for our communities.”

David Baca, chief of schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, told a virtual meeting of parents on Thursday that district leaders still don’t know how the school year will start – and he said, “We still do not have a date for when we will have a decision.”

And, in a sign that district leaders are concerned that schools cannot safely open in August, the Los Angeles Times reported this week that L.A. County public health director Barbara Ferrer told school district superintendents that it is possible that schools will have to do remote learning in the fall because of surging coronavirus infections. The conversation was supposed to be secret but the Times obtained a copy of the audio.

After Trump said schools should open, some school superintendents and governors pushed back on Trump, saying the president doesn’t decide when and how to reopen the nation’s schools that were closed this past spring when the pandemic hit. New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Wednesday that Trump has no authority over when schools open because that is “a state decision, period.” Some superintendents said it was actually a local decision.

The UTLA is the second-largest local teachers’ union in the country, with more than 33,000 members in the district of more than half a million students.

The union announced that its board of directors and bargaining team had decided to recommend to the union membership that school campuses stay closed on Aug. 18, when the new academic year is set to begin. It cited a new research paper, titled “Same Storm but Different Boats: The Safe and Equitable Conditions for Starting LAUSD in 2020-21,” which details conditions that must be met for the district to safely reopen schools for students and teachers.

David Baca, chief of schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, told a virtual meeting of parents on Thursday that district leaders still don’t know how the school year will start – and he said, “We still do not have a date for when we will have a decision.”

The Times reported that L.A. County public health director Barbara Ferrer told school district superintendents that it is possible that schools will have to do remote learning in the fall because of surging coronavirus infections. The conversation was supposed to be secret by the Times obtained a copy of the audio.

The union said it was taking a poll of members on Friday to see where they stand on the issue of reopening campuses.

The two big national teachers unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, have not called for schools to stay closed but have said important safety measures must be taken for schools to reopen. The American Federation of Teachers published an extensive plan for how schools and communities could reopen safely.

 

Share

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: News India Times | Desi Talk Headlines | Desi Talk Chicago, 35 JOURNAL SQ, JERSEY CITY, NJ, 07306, http://www.newsindiatimes.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact