It’s a known fact that teachers are underpaid.  All over the country, people have recognized this issue and everyone is rallying together to make a change for the better of the teachers. The question on everyone minds’ is “What will it take?”, and for a good reason. It’s obvious that many teachers are unfairly unpaid, but no matter what our teachers and people do, the change is slow and inadequate. In fact, many teachers have had enough. Not just are they underpaid, but LAUSD has been talking about taking away teachers’ healthcare. This doesn’t help to know that the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing on its own already. If the price of Healthcare is rising, and teachers aren’t paid enough to defray the expenses of what they owe, how is that fair to the teachers?  How is it fair that our educators, the people that have taught us everything we now know, are so underpaid?

People constantly point out the fact that an average doctors’ yearly salary $189,000, and an average teachers’ salary is close to $55,000 (and the average salary for a starting teacher is approximately $39,000). While it is obvious to see that doctors, psychiatrists, and pediatricians are crucial to our society today, and have a very important role, it is also just as important to remember who taught those doctors. It is significant to remember that without so many teachers, no one would be educated enough for the studies of college, let alone medical school.  LAUSD teachers have put up with being ungratified and underpaid for too long, which has brought them to the realization to make a difference not just for themselves but for all those teachers around the world. It has been 30 years since the last strike from LA teachers, and everyone is sitting on nails to see how it’ll go.

Many teachers rage and cringe at LAUSD superintendent, Austin Beutner, and his, so called, stubborn ways. Though on the first day of the LAUSD strike they lost $15 million due to lack of attendance, the strike stays strong and Beutner holds his ground. He shows no worry for the teachers and their strike but shows only worry for the students and the parents who can’t take care of their kids. Considering they lost $15 million on the first day, teachers are aware that LAUSD makes money from attendance. But what teachers are puzzled about is as to where that money goes. If $15 million was lost on just one day of LAUSD teachers not going to work, should they or should they not get paid more? That money should go into the paycheck of the teachers. The teachers are the ones who spend all day with children, teaching. While Austin Beutner makes more than $110,000, our own teachers make half of that. Instead, that money goes to making even bigger classrooms!  To make matters worse, Beutner is well aware of the lack of resources and has been aware of the issue even before the strike was initiated. In fact, each worker at LAUSD gets a letter at each end of a semester. The letter includes a thank you to all the teachers and what they do for the students and their families. Austin Beutner tells how he has had the privilege of visiting schools and “witnessing the passion and commitment that you put into your work”. He also addresses some issues that he has noticed when visiting some of the schools, and he mentions that he has learned about the concern held by teachers and the lack of resources. He also addresses the infamous issue with teachers being underpaid. The strike for LAUSD is all about being underpaid and the lack of resources. Doesn’t it seem a little sketchy?

Which is another thing? LAUSD teachers complain about the lack of supplies and resources. While at Griffiths Middle School, we have counselors and nurses all week, students that attend LA Unified School District have nurses every so often. And counselors? Very rare. They don’t have 3 counselors like we do, working all week. They don’t have counselors as we do, and each school’s counselor count is close to 0.  Going back to a point, teachers not only wonder where the money goes instead of their paychecks but if $15 million was lost in one day, that money should not only go into the paychecks on the teachers, it should go to the school and their resources. Many people suggest that the world would have fewer disasters if schools had more counselors. LAUSD has been having thoughts about telling teachers to keep a gun or weapon inside their desk to protect them when many teachers loathe this idea. The thoughts in their mind are the same as all of ours. “We don’t need weapons, we need help.” Help to refer to the counselors and those educated to help people with mental disability.

January 23, 2019. After 6 days of picketing and rallying together in the cold, from early morning to late afternoon, the strike has finally ended for the teachers. ETLA has reached an agreement with Austin Beutner, and some of the things that they agreed on didn’t exactly please everyone. While some teachers are happy with what was given, many teachers are a little put off by the fact that the strike wasn’t about them, but about the students. Everyone considers this a win, of course, though many people think that the students did not get what they deserved. So many teachers know that the reason they were petitioning in the cold rain was not for them and the money that goes into their paycheck. It was for the students, and for the community. Which leads to many of the teachers still feeling a little upset at the strike and the agreement. Although, teachers vote “yes” on the agreement because many can’t wait to get back to teaching students. What was the agreement exactly? Well, it included a raise and a nurse, but that’s about it for the teachers.

-6.6% raise

-300 more nurses through the course of 3 years

-77 more middle and high school counselors

This is about half of the contract, and what the agreement was about. The downer part of this all is that this contract will only last for 3 years. Whether or not we’ll see another strike in 3-4 years, we can’t be sure. All we know is that while teachers are pleased the strike is over, many are not satisfied with the way it was over. The contract did not please everyone, though it did get approved. We hope that this time, not just LAUSD teachers remain happy for many years with their raise, nurses and counselors, but our teachers as well here at Griffiths Middle School stay happy and feel appreciated.