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Hear Us Roar: #RedForEd!

California Educators have a long history of standing up for their students, profession, communities and one another. After years of organizing and asking LAUSD to invest in students and neighborhood public schools, UTLA took to the streets. Support poured in as we all showed solidarity by wearing #RedForEd.

The power of educators’ unity, action and shared sacrifice was never clearer than when some 60,000 educators, students, parents and community converged at Los Angeles City Hall on Jan. 18. Years of frustration about reprehensible classroom conditions — class sizes of 45 or more students, 40 percent of schools with a nurse only one day a week, inadequate funding for key programs such as early childhood education and special education — had boiled over, and the protesters would stand for it no more.

When United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) reached an agreement with Los Angeles Unified six days later, its members received nearly everything they went on strike for. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl expressed pride in the membership, who had picketed and rallied despite a series of Southern California downpours.

“I’m so proud of our members who took it upon themselves, on picket lines in record numbers, to express what we’ve all known, but that has been a hard truth to tell sometimes: that public education desperately needs attention, from the city, from the state, from the country. This agreement includes so many elements that are important to our students, families, parents, and communities.”

“It is downright shameful that the richest state in the country ranks 43rd out of 50 when it comes to per-pupil spending.”

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl, quoted in the Los Angeles Times

Sixty thousand educators and supporters come together at City Hall in Los Angeles on Jan. 1. Families and community back educators’ demand for the public education students deserve.

When United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) reached an agreement with Los Angeles Unified six days later, its members received nearly everything they went on strike for. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl expressed pride in the membership, who had picketed and rallied despite a series of Southern California downpours.

“I’m so proud of our members who took it upon themselves, on picket lines in record numbers, to express what we’ve all known, but that has been a hard truth to tell sometimes: that public education desperately needs attention, from the city, from the state, from the country. This agreement includes so many elements that are important to our students, families, parents, and communities.”

“The outpouring of support has been the force behind the courageous teachers who walked the picket line in the cold and rain for their students.” —CTA President Eric Heins


The #RedForEd movement in California has drawn tremendous strength from what has transpired across the country in the past year, with walkouts and work actions in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Washington. But what made (and is still making) the movement in California so potent is the strategy to win based on bargaining for the common good: Our demands to give students the public education they deserve, and to give educators the tools they need, benefit the entire community, not just our members.

We’ve seen this in multiple CTA locals’ actions across the state, where we have worked hard to build relationships with parents and community and a network of support around the common good. When parents and community wholeheartedly support and join our movement, we are unstoppable.

What’s happening now in Oakland is just the latest example. The Oakland Education Association (OEA) has been strengthening its bonds with community for some time, including inviting local artists, parents and children to join in “art builds” and other events that make visible the broad support for public school teachers. That community stands ready to back OEA members after their vote to authorize a strike was announced Feb. 4.

“Our demands are about a vision for building the public school system that Oakland families deserve.” —OEA President Keith Brown

“This is bigger than salary,” says OEA President Keith Brown. “This is about the heart and soul of public education. And this is about fighting for greater investments in our schools and taking on the privatizers. We are ready to fight for the schools our students deserve!”

Hear us roar: #RedForEd!

Top Social Media Posts

A few of the most-liked, most-shared posts during the #UTLA strike

By far the most popular post was educator Nicholas Ferroni’s video depicting what a class of 15 students
looks like, increasing to show how untenable a class of 45 is.

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