Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) signed an agreement with the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) last week regarding new distant-learning guidelines and compensations.
The agreement specifically promises teachers flexible work days, prohibiting the requirement to use live video streaming platforms for teaching and protection on compensations, according to the UTLA website. Educators can expect regular pay during school closures, and classroom teachers should have on average 240-minute work days. This contract between LAUSD and UTLA teacher union will end on June 30, or up until schools open again.
“It does not mean we are teaching until June 30,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said during a Facebook livestream video Monday morning. “If there is any discussion about extending the school year, you will hear about it from us.”
Caputo-Pearl emphasized that some school administrators might enforce teachers to work over the average 240 minutes and to use live video platforms to teach. If this happens, he encourages teachers to contact their respective UTLA chapter chairs.
“We are on solid ground because we have this agreement,” he said. “Again, this is the value of having a union. We made a binding agreement as a union around those collective issues.”
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner also released a statement Monday morning, addressing the agreement with UTLA as well as updating the city on public educational announcements.
“More important than the words on six pages of paper are the outstanding efforts by so many educators who are going above and beyond to help students learn,” Beutner said in the statement.
He added that schools will remain closed until state and local health authorities say it is safe to return, meaning the second half of the school year and summer school will be held remotely.
“The transition from a physical classroom to a virtual one is an enormous undertaking,” Beutner said. “There is no substitute for learning in a school setting but it would be a mistake to try to simply replicate what happens in a classroom.”
LAUSD and UTLA are continuing to discuss how to support students' in special education and English learning programs. “The tools and technologies and teaching standards are not as well established in these areas but we are working to find the best solutions we can,” Beutner said.
However, this agreement is only the beginning to the ongoing “battle” between the teachers and the school district during this unprecedented time. Caputo-Pearl said that their next step is combating the inevitable educational cuts, which may include layoffs and reduction on healthcare coverages.
Many states, including Maryland, Ohio, New York and Tennessee, have already called for big education cuts, and California has already moved its budgets around.
“We are not going back to 2008,” Caputo-Pearl said. “Public education is too important. There is enough money in California and The United States to not furlough workers and cut programs for our most vulnerable students.”