Less than a month into 2019, the teachers of Los Angeles proved that last year’s wave of collective action isn’t quieting down. After taking to the streets in a strike that has captured the country’s imagination, members of United Teachers Los Angeles are returned to classrooms after overwhelmingly approving a paradigm-shifting contract that delivers on key demands.

AFM Local 47 musicians proudly stood alongside our sisters and brothers of UTLA in their fight to improve our schools. Most of the rallies took place during a rare SoCal rainstorm the week of Jan. 14, but tens of thousands weren’t deterred from standing up to do right by our students, our teachers, and our communities.

For six days, more than 30,000 UTLA teachers went on strike to shine a light on the daily realities of a neglected and underfunded public school system. They demanded better, and by standing together, they won it.

On Jan. 22, an agreement was reached with UTLA and LAUSD. Here are just a few critical improvements in the new contract:

  • A much-deserved 6% pay raise with no contingencies
  • A nurse in every school five days a week
  • A teacher librarian in every secondary school five days a week
  • Hard caps on class size that will go into effect immediately in 2019-2020, with additional improvements every year after
  • A commitment to reduce testing by 50%
  • Hard caps on special education caseloads
  • A clear pathway to cap charter schools

“For too long teachers have lived with a hard truth to tell—that for years our students were being starved of the resources they need,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl following the vote. “Our expectations were fundamentally raised by this strike. Together, we said we deserve better, our students deserve better. We must keep our expectations high and not let go of this moment, because the next struggle is right around the corner.”

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