The Los Angeles teacher demonstration in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, December 15, 2018. (photo by Yvonne Condes)

Updated by Yvonne Condes 1/16/2019 – Thousands of Los Angeles Teachers took to the streets in sometimes pouring rain this week on the first days of a strike with no end in sight.

On the first day of the LA Teachers’ Strike, teachers marched in downtown LA. (photo by Yvonne Condes)

Los Angeles Unified School District’s more than 1,000 schools were open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as teachers picketed. After striking in the morning Monday, teachers met at Grand Park in Downtown LA and marched to district offices.

Teachers walk to Grand Park Monday, the first day of the LAUSD Teahers’ Stirke. (photo by Yvonne Condes)

On Tuesday, Teachers gathered to march to the California Charter Schools Association offices in Downtown LA. And on Wednesday, teachers and supporters marched in front of their local district offices.

Superintendent Austin Buetner said Tuesday morning that 144,000 students attended school on Monday. Average rainy day attendance would be about 450,000. He estimated that the district lost $15 million the first day of the strike, which will continue Wednesday.

No talks are scheduled between the district and the teachers’ union.

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday urged the two sides to get together and talk.

“This impasse is disrupting the lives of too many kids and their families. I strongly urge all parties to go back to the negotiating table and find an immediate path forward that puts kids back into classrooms and provides parents certainty,” he said in a press release.

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said Sunday that the union had not heard from the district over the weekend and teachers are prepared to strike for as long as is necessary.

What the Strike Means for LA Families:

All LAUSD campuses will remain open during the strike and will be staffed by substitutes, reassigned administrators, and certificated and classified staff.

Students are expected to continue attending school each day, according to the district, and all school schedules (including after school programs and meals) will not change.

It is up to individual families whether they will have their child attend school. Some parents may choose to keep their kids home to avoid having them cross the picket line while others may opt to send kids to school.  Parent groups around the district are also organizing support for teachers during the strike.

Be sure all contact information you have on file at your child’s school is current and up-to-date (including all phone numbers and email addresses). Additionally, you can click here to access the District’s “Family Resource Guide: Preparing for a Potential Strike” on tips for how families can navigate this time. Families can use the guide to assist them in speaking with their children and explaining this situation to them.

The district has set up a strike hotline, which is available from 5AM to 4PM Monday through Friday at 213-443-1300.

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Things for Kids to do During the Strike:

Free Admission to Natural History Museums of LA CountyIn response to the LAUSD strike planned for Thursday, January 10, the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) will offer free onsite general admission to all LAUSD students and chaperones, weekdays Monday-Friday, 9:30 am to 5 pm. In addition, students and chaperones will have access to grade appropriate self-guided activities and lesson plans for pick-up onsite.

All students will have access to free programming on Friday, January 11 at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and—if still on strike—Tuesday, February 12 at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Exposition Park- For information about the visiting during the strike, click here. For information on current exhibits and hours, visit

Free Admission to the Petersen Automotive Museum – The Petersen is offering free admission to LAUSD students Monday through Friday until February 2nd.  Students under the age of 13 must be accompanied by and adult. Middle and high school students over 13 will be admitted with school ID.

In addition to free admission, children and teens will have the opportunity to experience supplemental educational programs designed to help them learn about the history and future of the automobile. Each day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., STEAM-based tours and design projects, book readings and other activities will keep students engaged and provide opportunities for learning about the math, science and artistry behind cars,” according a press release from the Petersen.

LA Metro to Offer Free Rides to LAUSD Students – LAUSD students with a student ID card will be able to ride for free on strike days from 5 am to 7 pm., according to Metro.

“At Metro, we want to help those kids who may be staying home from school because of the strike find constructive and educational ways to spend their time,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Chair of the Metro Board. “Free Metro access will help make it easier for students and their families to get to parks, museums, libraries and other facilities.” “At Metro, we want to help those kids who may be staying home from school because of the strike find constructive and educational ways to spend their time,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Chair of the Metro Board. “Free Metro access will help make it easier for students and their families to get to parks, museums, libraries and other facilities.”

Free Admission to the LA Zoo – The Los Angeles Zoo will offer free admission Monday through Friday to LAUSD students in grades K-12 and $5 for accompanying chaperones, “providing a safe and educational place for students during the LAUSD teachers’ strike.”

Students merely need to show proof of enrollment by presenting a school ID card, report card, school newsletter or similar proof of enrollment. Complimentary admission will be offered Monday through Friday and only on days LAUSD schools are impacted due to the teachers’ strike. Tickets are available at the L.A. Zoo box office only. This limited-time discount is NOT available online.”

If you’re looking for more things to do, see our post with 12 Free Things to do in Los Angeles With Kids, our Guide to Museums in Los Angeles or 10 Educational (and Free!) Things to do in Los Angeles.

If you’re just hearing about the LA Teachers Strike, here is a little background:

LAUSD is our nation’s second-largest school district with about 600,000 students and 30,000 teachers. Contract negotiations between the district and the union have been going on for 21 months with no contract in place since then.

The Union claims there is enough money in reserves to meet all their demands, while the District maintains there is not adequate money in reserves. 

Los Angeles Unified School District teachers, under their union UTLA, turned out in  record-breaking numbers (83% of their members) to vote for a strike. 98% of voting teachers voted to authorize a strike if one becomes necessary. 

The District has reached agreements with other labor partners, representing about 65% of the District’s workforce. The last time LAUSD teachers went on strike was back in 1989. That strike lasted nine days. 

What LAUSD Teachers Want:

  • Teachers are asking for a 6.5% pay raise retroactive to July 1, 2016. 
  • Teachers are asking for a cap on class sizes. California teachers rank 48 out of 50 as having the largest class sizes in the nation with LAUSD teachers having among the largest class sizes in the state. 
  • Teachers are asking for increased discretion to determine when standardized assessments are given, and which assessments are given.
  • Teachers are asking for increased per-pupil funding. California is defined as the richest state in the nation, yet ranks 43 out of 50 in terms of per-pupil spending.
  • Teachers are asking for additional school staff, including nurses, counselors, librarians, and social workers. In LAUSD, the student-to-nurse ratio is 1,224:1 and there is a student-to-counselor ratio of 945:1.

What LAUSD Wants:

  • The District agrees that class sizes should be smaller, teachers should be paid more, and that schools should increase the number of nurses, counselors, and social workers on staff. However, the District and the Union disagree on how the District can pay for these.
  • The District is prepared to offer a 6% pay raise to teachers over two years; a 3% pay raise retroactive for the 2017-2018 school year, and another 3% for the 2018-2019 school year. 
  • The District has offered class-size reductions at 15 middle schools and 75 elementary schools that are deemed to have the “highest need.” 

The Los Angeles teacher demonstration in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, December 15, 2018. (photo by Yvonne Condes)

The Los Angeles teacher demonstration in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, December 15, 2018. (photo by Yvonne Condes)

The Latest in Negotiations:

The two sides met last Friday in last-minute negotiations. According to the LA Times, Superintendent Austin Beutner offered schools 5-day a week nurses to all elementary schools in the district and to lower class size in middle school.  Currently, the district pays for one day.

In a press conference Friday, UTLA officials said that the proposal was “woefully inadequate” and was only for one year.

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said last Friday that they were at an impasse. “If the district has a proposal for us that is demonstrably different between now and Monday, they can send that to us and we’ll consider it.”

If not, “Get ready, because on Monday we will be on strike for our students, for our schools and for the future of public education,” he said.

The district and teachers have no negotiations scheduled.


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  1. Jose 25 October, 2018 at 08:31 Reply

    Thank you for the clear picture of what is going on during the contract negotiations. I just wanted to clarify that the district has only offered a 3% pay increase with another 3% increase contingent on whether the district believes it has enough funds to cover. As Beutner has made abundantly clear, he does not believe we have enough funds for any other increases; therefore, we can predict that this offer, if accepted, would really be for 3%. Beutner seems to be using the misleading 6% increase figure to portray the teachers as greedy, as opposed to advocates for our students who need smaller class sizes and support staff.

  2. Moleetha 20 November, 2018 at 10:09 Reply

    It’s clear the teachers aren’t just concerned with salary, if so they would have accepted the “misleading 6%”. They seem to really be standing up for students’ best interest: class size reduction, more counselors s and nurses (those ratios) are unacceptable when you are living in one of the richest states in the country.

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