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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

The Work of a Small Group of Committed People: Reflections on the Los Angeles teachers strike

A colleague recently shared an article with me from The New York Times,“What’s Really at Stake in the LA Teachers’ Strike?” It was day two of the ongoing 2019 United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) teacher work stoppage, where teachers in the nation’s second-largest school district are on strike, seeking a fair salary, smaller class sizes, and better support.

The article provided some historical context as to the funding process, funding allocation and funding implications for education in California. One section in particular resonated with me:

Public education in California has never recovered, nowhere with more devastating impact than in Los Angeles, where a district now mostly low-income and Latino has failed generations of children most in need of help. The decades of frustration and impotence have boiled over in a strike with no clear endgame and huge long-term implications. The underlying question is: Can California ever have great public schools again?”
Utla Teacher Strike Blog

Los Angeles teachers on strike. Photographed by Wilson Pumpernickel. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

I don’t know what really is at stake in the LA Teachers’ Strike, but I do have a sense as to what is at stake for a “district now mostly low-income and Latino that has failed generations of children most in need of help”. The state of the world, the state of the nation and the state of the LA school district leaves me with a great sense of uncertainty, a sense of trepidation, a sense doubt, a sense of ineffectiveness. How do I mitigate what continues to deliver “failed generations of children”? How do I to continue to do “the work”?

However, I have a sense of hope as well. I can see a future that ensures equity and access because I have the opportunity to observe, experience, and facilitate the praxis of Los Angeles New Administrators Leadership Program (LANALP) administrators. From a recent opportunity I had to engage with these administrators around their reflective practice and their action steps around the ongoing work they shared, I captured the following statements.

“Transformative learning theory says that the process of "perspective transformation" has three dimensions: psychological (changes in understanding of the self), convictional (revision of belief systems), and behavioral (changes in lifestyle). For me, our LANALP theme of transformational leadership and equitable access represents our moral imperative to surround students, staff, and families with school cultures driven by a mentality of "doing whatever it takes" and providing students with the resources they deserve to reach their goals.”

-Elementary School Assistant Principal

“Personally, through the LANALP program, I was able to further develop my knowledge about creating systems to run effective schools which strike a balance between instruction and operations to serve students in a meaningful way. Lastly, LANALP also supported my professional growth by widening my network of like-minded educators who care about justice and equality.”

-High School Assistant Principal

“One can easily fall to meeting compliances and report deadlines, but LANALP reenergized the principal within me to fight for my students’ academic and social success. The LANLAP work led to self-discoveries, questions and new action plans for my own growth and benefit of my school and community. Through LANALP I became an intentional principal who will continue to fight for my students.”

-High School Principal

“My LANALP journey was one that allowed for my reflection of practice and strategic planning in my current job placement. I was able to strategically tackle problems facing the educational landscape and more immediately my school. The program’s focus on educational equity and social justice strongly connected with my core belief system, which is, in fact, the reason I work in Los Angeles public schools and with communities of color.”

-Elementary School Principal

“The opportunity to sit with other thoughtful school leaders and deeply reflect on the most challenging aspects of our work was invaluable and pushed my thinking in numerous ways. Being part of a high-quality community of practice … reinforced the importance of this type of support for building leaders, and I will continue to advocate for such opportunities to be a regular part of the professional development we receive as principals.”

-Middle School Principal


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