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Beginning Walkout, Los Angeles Teachers Find Support From Sanders—But Not Corporate Democrats


Beginning Walkout, Los Angeles Teachers Find Support From Sanders—But Not Corporate Democrats

Julia Conley, staff writer

As more than 30,000 educators and supporters prepared Monday to protest the Los Angeles school district's overcrowded classrooms, low teacher salaries, and refusal to hire sufficient support staff, observers noted how the lines being drawn reflect divisions within the Democratic Party regarding education policies: corporate-backed privatization versus strengthening public schools.


Zero taxes on the rich is slowly destroying America. Time to reverse most tax cuts for the rich and allow America to grow again. Go Bernie!


I’m a fan of public education and see the capitalist privatizer types as standard plutocrats grasping for more. The district has 600,000 students and is claimed to be spending 500 million over budget per year. That comes out to a shortfall of $800± per student per year.

The figure we don’t have in order to make a decision is the benefit to Los Angeles of having an educated population. Noticing that Los Angeles is the third or fourth richest city in the united states, one can guess that past investment in education has done well for the city. I suspect that austerity policies that help rich people skip out on their taxes has a lot to do with the problem.

Today’s France provides an example of where squeezing the masses to buy one more luxury car or fancy dress leads. Rich people are blind to the simple fact there is no more gravy to squeeze from ordinary everyday people. Even though everything looks rosy from the Malibu picture window; every new day from now on can be the start of a Los Angeles version of yellow vests. A city that mistreats its teachers is mistreating its own children.


It’s good for a national political figure like Bernie to support the strike, but it is not good that he focuses on the economic issues. This strike, like all strikes, is about power relationships. Among other things, teachers are fighting for more power visa v. bureaucrats and politicians in their workplace, i.e. PUBLIC schools.

Also, they are fighting to save true public education in the U.S. itself as privatizers like Duncan, DeVos and Beutner work to destroy the public education system itself by chartering it to death. (Note that two of these three are Democrats and very likely may be delegates at the Dim Con in 2020).

Finally, this strike like all strikes, is very much about whether the LAUSD can bust the union (or better yet for them) weaken it to a point to where it becomes just another business “house” union used to keep workers in-line.



It’s hard to believe that 50 yrs ago the Dems still supported (an by the way, got most of their financial support from them) unions. Starting with Carter (who I refer to as the greatest EX PRESIDENT) the Dems went the way of the Republicans and the Republicans went the way of crazy. It’s plain and simple, support the working classes in this country or die. And, look at our education system, once the best in the world, I think now we’re down to 25th or so. USA, USA, USA!!!


We’ve been hearing that we need more HB1 visas (foreigner brought in to fill American good jobs)? Why don’t we educate Americans to fill these jobs? America’s children are being left behind, America’s silver spoon babies are not enough to fill these jobs? or are they just lazy billionaire’s children?

Education is the key, we are throwing away our children.


Prop 13 is a huge factor in education struggles in California generally, and it has been pretty disastrous for the state. Spending per pupil California is incredibly low, and people like Duncan make bad situations worse. He did bad stuff in Chicago, and Obama hired him to take those bad, reactionary ideas national. I think a mindless know nothing told me once that was called “pragmatism” or something.

I also don’t think there is as much of a split in the Democratic Party more than there are massive problems from it being so hierarchical, internally undemocratic and corrupt. Like the political system at large, the mass of people want one thing, those in power have amassed lots of wealth simply because of their access to power, and they along with their donors want radically different things. What Bill Black has long focused on, which is control fraud. They profit off of their access to power, and democratizing the party takes away their personal piggy banks.

This is class conflict, and an issue of power dynamics. Duncan and the like are on the side they are always on in these types of conflicts.


Corporate Democrats see this strike as an opportunity to expand charter schools…never let a crisis go to waste ala shock doctrine !


The LA School District superintendent is a hedge fund manager? That says it all.

The most important priority that states and counties control is public education. And we’ve seen it from West Virginia, to Oklahoma, to Arizona, and now California. They are not doing their jobs first and foremost with adequate funding.


Does CA still have that ridiculous tax limitation law in place. I think it was on property taxes which are used to fund public schools. No wonder they have inadequate funds.


There’s a lot to what you say. Immigration has always been used by employers to play various groups of workers off against each other, That said, we are a nation of immigrants, and the U.S. has displaced more people with its imperial military machine than any other in history.

So to get immigration to manageable norms, we have to phase out (quickly) the permanent capitalist war against humanity. Provide massive reparations so people can remain in their birth countries and rebuild them (which the vast majority would prefer) and integrate immigrants into the U.S. political economy by legalizing all who work and their families.

As for your point on education: I have taught English/Communications courses FTE for about 25 years in a multitude of higher ed and workplace settings. In most cases, they were a mix of majority U.S.-born and immigrant adult learners.

I found out that though too many of the immigrants were weak in basic English-language skills, they took the work much more seriously than U.S.-born. The U.S.-born students have been trained to have an attitude that because they have paid tuition, they have a right to a good grade and a degree which gives them a right to a good job. Either that, or they are forced by employers to get degrees for work that they do quite well anyway.

As for the language problems with foreign-born, too often they are deluded into believing their language skills are better than they are and teaching a second language to adults is extremely difficult (though my foreign-born students from many countries have taught me ESL basics that are extremely useful).

Also, for all U.S.-based people there is the problem that the U.S. is an alliterate society. It’s not that we can’t read and write; it’s that we don’t read and write very often or very much.

So the immigration/education matrix is complex, but manageable – if we ever get down to the basics that EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT and THE U.S. MUST END THE PERMANENT CAPITALIST WAR AGAINST HUMANITY AND THE BIOSPHERE.

As we work and struggle to do the latter, we will teach each other - formally and informally - to do the former. That, or our species is dead.


Excellent Post!


Darn right the DNC Democrats do not like it it flies in the face of their neoliberal austerity economics.


Cue the Obama defenders because “republicans”.


From the article: ‘The struggle unfolding in Los Angeles this week has fundamental implications for the future of American education.’


those workers already existed and still do.

My last stint in corporate America was in tech in the 90s, when H1B abuse was beginning to take off. It was always about replacing current workers with imported (and much cheaper) labor. It’s less about educating them and far more about actually hiring them.

In San Diego, I lived in a humble apt complex down the road from Qualcomm’s HQ. My complex was full of Indian middle class immigrants who came to work for them on H1Bs, never mind that southern cal had the 2d largest population of unemployed domestic tech workers in the US. It’s one of the reasons you have a lot of animosity towards immigrants in general, because the reality is that they do displace native workers. But protected workers (professional class) don’t see that, because they haven’t yet been thrown in direct wage competition with foreign labor. Yet.


Elementary economic analysis tells us that societies reward teachers in direct relationship with society’s appreciation of education. This statement seems obvious, but it is more complicated that it sounds. The reason is that education is unlike regular products (like cars or food.) Regular products are always valued by the community, even if the value is very low (and old jalopy may have very little value, but it will always have a value greater than zero).
In some societies, Education can have “negative” value, in the sense that ignorance is preferred to knowledge. Much of American society and many Islamic societies are like that. In the US today, among lower white middle class bigots, the learning that takes place in school is viewed as “indoctrination”, and many parents would prefer their children didn’t go to school. The Repugnant Santorum said it in so many words when addressing a large audience of Blue Collar Trash in 2016. For this reason, many whites preserve their children’s ignorance by “educating” them at home.
By the way, if you haven’t seen it before, check out the meaning of the word “santorum.”


What looks to be a good source of data on this is https://ballotpedia.org/Analysis_of_spending_in_America’s_largest_school_districts. The ‘Actual per pupil expenditures’ (which is reported by the district and they decide which expenditures like debt payments don’t qualify - % that qualifies ranges from 45% to 98% so I’m skeptical this is handled similarly but it seems better than comparing ‘expenditures per student’).

Anyway this metric runs from around $5k (districts in Idaho, California, and Utah) up to $24k in New Jersey. LAUSD (where my kid goes to school) is $10.6k. Santa Monica/Malibu which split off from LAUSD more than 10 years ago and has much higher property values than LAUD overall is listed at $10.8k. Now in a perfect world, I’d opt for something like Boston/New York/New Jersey spending done federally over the whole US with some variation due to cost of living differences (Boston is going to need more money per pupil than a small town in Idaho, but I want that kid in Idaho to get just as good an education). But our current local mess is probably due to a number of factors including poor administration performance (we were the district that made that asinine choice on iPads that almost any parent cold have told you was a mistake). And you better believe I’ve heard the stories of lousy teachers who you just can’t get rid of or get them to change. I was on the picket line this morning and I think teachers should get more money and we should have smaller class sizes but the problems are not going away anytime soon I’m afraid. I’d like to see more independent information as I definitely don’t trust LAUSD and I don’t fully trust UTLA either.

On Prop 13, I’m not all that knowledgeable. I took a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_tax_in_the_United_States and it does show CA overall has much lower rates than the much more conservative TX, much of the midwest and the northeast. I pay about 1% on the value of my home and because I bought it somewhat recently (10 years), the high CA housing prices means I still pay a fair amount of my salary out as property tax - I’m not excited to pay much more. I’m not that happy that people who can avoid reassessment (https://www.lafra.org/avoid-prop-13-reassessment/) get to pay a whole lot less so I’d probably support reform if I’m not going to get soaked.


There an old passage from Kipling , “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet”.

This the same with left and right and Corporatist and Progressive. The TRUE progressives need to abandon the Democratic party which in practice is a right wing or Corporatist party. Let those Corporatists in the Democratic party align themselves with others of their mindset , that being the Republicans.

To the point that this split would just ensure the Republicans always elected , well what in fact the difference when half+ of the Democrats are Republicans in practice anyways?


The per capita spending in US schools is relatively high compared to the rest of the Countries in the OECD . In fact I think it higher in California than here in British Columbia.

Wages paid to Teachers in British Columbia on average are much higher than those paid to California teachers on average. I do not have at hand numbers for class sizes and the like but I think these numbers invite an analysis as to the breakdown of expenditures under each system. As example I know US school systems tend to spend much more on security and also tend to see more “privatization” even in the Public systems.