We knew it was coming, but who knew it would look like this? The weather was miserable, but it didn’t dampen the spirit and resolve the teachers, parents, students, and community members displayed as they swarmed the streets of Los Angeles in protest.
Groups of teachers, wearing red in solidarity with the Red for Ed movement, could be seen all over the city, taking shelter under storefronts as heavy rain poured down or congregating on street corners and getting supplies for the day’s events. In the morning, educators picketed in front of their schools with megaphones, cheering when passing cars honked in support. In the early afternoon, tens of thousands marched on City Hall, sometimes alongside parents, students and friendly community members. The march was a sea of red enthusiasm, complete with deafening cheers, topical costumes and damp signs.
It was day one of the first teachers strike in Los Angeles in 30 years. And it was big, wet and loud.
The demands of Los Angeles teachers are similar to those made by teachers who opted to strike in Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia: smaller class sizes, more help in the classroom, and increased salaries. This battle has been simmering for 21 months. Now that it has come to the boil, it’s best to prepare for a long fight even though we hope for a swift resolution.