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UTLA Strike: A Case Study of Arizona and Texas in Relation to California

Sara Daar and Elizabeth Kaplan

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Since 2017, The United Teachers of Los Angeles, UTLA, has been negotiating with LAUSD for lower class sizes, investment in school safety, more nurses, librarians, and counselors, and a salary increase. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner continues to be reluctant in fulfilling the teachers’ demands, resulting in a strike that began on Monday, January 14, 2019.

California is among several other states to strike, including Arizona and Texas. In 2018, Arizona teachers requested increased education funding and a higher salary for teachers and support staff.

Similar to Beutner, Arizona state governor Doug Ducey, demonstrated resistance in granting teacher demands. Earlier in the year, he offered only a two percent pay raise and no promise of improved funding. The teachers were not satisfied and went on a six day strike.

Ending the movement, Ducey agreed to create a measure granting teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020, while providing millions in school funding. Despite this success, funding remains low and support staff received no raise.

Similarly, in 2018, Texas teachers fought for an increase in their salaries and greater state funding for public education. The upset began due to the fact that Texas only covered about 38 percent of the cost of public education. As a result, teachers’ salaries were reduced to cover the rest of the costs. In 2016, Texas teachers earned $6,500 below the national average for teacher salaries, demonstrating the plummet in teachers’ wages.

A Texas law states that any public employee who goes on strike will be deprived of their civil service and reemployment rights, thus preventing teachers from joining in the strike. With their pensions, teaching certificates, and retirement system threatened, Texas teachers were forced to refrain from going on strike. Unlike Texas, California does not have these restrictions.

Both the Texas and Arizona strikes show similarities to the UTLA strike currently occurring. All three demonstrate the lack of sufficient education spending and poor treatment of teachers and support staff in the nation.

After examining these past two strikes, the inconsistent results provide no clear guidance toward the outcome of the current strike, specifically whether Beutner will refuse to give in to the teachers’ demands or if teachers will be successful in obtaining a victory for education.

 

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The Student News Site of Cleveland Charter High School
UTLA Strike: A Case Study of Arizona and Texas in Relation to California