LAUSD strike continues into a third day

While bargaining negotiations are set in motion, teachers continue to strike in the rain

Chanting, drums and laminated signs filled the streets in parts of Los Angeles for the third day of teacher strikes on Wednesday as thousands of protesters clad in red marched in the rainy weather to demand smaller class sizes, charter school accountability, and more critical school staff.

As the United Teachers Los Angeles, the union group that represents many LA teachers, headed into bargaining on Wednesday morning, the strike was still ongoing in the streets.

"We are fighting for education. We are fighting for a smaller class size," Joyce Oldaker, a teacher at 32nd Street Elementary told Annenberg Media. "We're fighting for full-time nurses, and we're fighting for counselors in schools."

Numbers collected by UTLA on their website says that on the first day of the strike, over 50,000 people marched to LAUSD headquarters to demand change.

A survey done by Loyola Marymount University has found that nearly 80 percent of LA County residents support the teachers strike.

Audrey Diehl, the mother of one Mount Washington Elementary student, said she understands why teachers are going on strike."I support all of their concerns. I agree that classes are way too big."

Diehl is keeping her son home as a show of support for the strike. She believes many parents at Mount Washington Elementary have done the same.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second-largest in the country with nearly half a million students. LAUSD is monitoring absences throughout the strike and has urged parents to continue to send their children school since school district funding is tied to student attendance.

Austin Beutner, LAUSD Superintendent, said in a Tuesday morning news conference, that the district had lost $25 million during the strike due to absences.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Beutner wrote on Monday that the strike wouldn't help create the funding UTLA is asking for. "Ninety percent of the funding for our schools comes from Sacramento, which Los Angeles can't control."

Beutner is also concerned about the large student population that relies on free or reduced-meal lunches, which may go hungry due to skipping school during the strike.

Teachers will continue to strike until bargaining is met. Nelly Cristales, a second-grade teacher from 32nd Street Elementary, spoke to Annenberg Media about why she and other teachers continued to march in the rain.

"If it's not done today, then what's going to happen tomorrow?" Cristales said. "…It's our responsibility to look for [the students'] future."