Barbara Madeloni

A huge crowd of strikers

In a joyful, rain-drenched strike, 34,000 Los Angeles teachers won things no union has ever won.

They forced Superintendent Austin Beutner, a former investment banker, to accept concessions even on topics he had previously refused even to bargain over.

L.A. will reinstate limits on class size—and for most classes, reduce those limits by four students by 2022.

Despite a pro-charter school board majority, the nation’s second-largest school district agreed to move a board resolution to support a statewide moratorium on new charter schools

VIDEO: Striking for the Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve


Thirty-four thousand teachers in Los Angeles are out on strike to defend public education against the privatization agenda of Austin Beutner, the former investment banker and current Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is demanding class size limits, more funding for counselors, social workers, and nurses, and a moratorium on charter school expansion. The school district is hoping to hold on to its $1.9 billion in reserves and continue defunding, dismantling, and privatizing the city's 900 public schools.

Last spring a teacher uprising swept the red states. Today it reached the West Coast, as the 34,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles began a long-anticipated strike in the nation’s second-largest school district.

Teachers, parents, students, and community supporters hit the picket lines in their fight against the budget cuts and privatization being pushed by the school board and Superintendent Austin Beutner, a former investment banker.

This article, originally published on December 4 as the strike began, has since been updated. --Editors.

Chicago teachers are leading the way again. They have declared victory in the first charter school strike in U.S. history.

The four-day strike included 550 teachers and paraprofessionals who work at all 15 Chicago charter schools in the Acero charter chain.

Sometimes the boss offers us a fight that directly exposes the destructive effects of corporate power.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that moment came when ExxonMobil asked for yet another handout from taxpayers—property tax exemptions totaling $6 million.

For the ninth-largest corporation in the world, it was a routine request. ExxonMobil is accustomed to receiving such perks from obedient state officials. But teachers saw it differently: as a $6 million theft from the local schools budget.

Let Members Lead

It was a decisive moment in the West Virginia teachers strike. State union leaders, presenting a deal that would leave out some public sector workers, were greeted with a chorus of “back to the table!”

Those educators refused to be talked into a compromise. And, after days out on strike, they knew they had the power to back up that demand.

Fifteen districts started the school year on strike in Washington state—the latest to ride the West Virginia wave.

“For my whole life I thought this was just the way it was, that I would have to struggle to have a sustainable life,” said Anna Cockrum, a teacher in Evergreen, out on her first picket line. “I teach students to stand up for themselves, and it is so cool to be living that.”

As teachers, school employees, and students head back to school, what’s ahead for the #RedforEd movement?

This spring, teachers mobilized on an unprecedented scale in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, and Colorado. They protested, walked out, and even held statewide strikes—in states with limited to no collective bargaining rights, where school unions have traditionally focused on state politics.