SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS

Safe, high-quality public schools are a right for all.

“If we don’t get the quality education that we need to succeed, then we are being set up to fail,”

– Karen Calderon, a Hamilton High student

UTLA Stands With Students and fights for Quality Schools

 Here is how:

Reduce class sizes at all grade levels.

UTLA believes small class size, particularly in grades pre-K-12, allows for the optimum development of a student’s potential. Class size and daily student-teacher contacts must allow for individual attention to each pupil.

A reasonable goal for California’s class size is a program that places California in the upper quartile of low class sizes in the United States with class size computed upon actual classroom teacher: pupil ratio.

Class size maximums must be established, with Association involvement, based on the type of students, state content standards, physical facilities, and other criteria.

Optimum maximums should include: 

1. Twenty (20) students in regular elementary classes including special day class students mainstreamed into the classroom;

2. Twenty (20) students in regular secondary classes including special day class students mainstreamed into the classroom and students in each course of distance or online learning; with no more than 100 students per day;  

3. No more students than the optimum number of workstations in shop and laboratory classes, regardless of the grade level.
4. A ratio of 8 students per 1 adult, with a maximum class size of 24, shall be maintained in preschool, under the direct supervision of a certificated teacher, under the direct supervision of a certificated teacher.

Hire more special education teachers and specialists to ensure that students with special needs get the attention and support they deserve.

For too long, Congress has failed to live up to its commitment to fund special education.  This continued underfunding – in combination with current state fiscal crises – forces school districts to either raise taxes or dip into general education budgets to make up for the shortfall, thereby cutting other critical services.

United Teachers Los Angeles supports a free, appropriate public education for all students with disabilities in a least restrictive environment, which is determined by maximum teacher and parent/guardian involvement. There must also be a full continuum of placement options, services, and delivery models available to students with disabilities.

Over the past 10 years, the number of U.S. students enrolled in special education programs has risen 30 percent. Three out of every four students with disabilities spend part or all of their school day in a general education classroom. In turn, nearly every general education classroom across the country includes students with disabilities. Each school and school district must determine the best way to conduct programs and figure out how to pay for them.

 

Recruit more bilingual educators, invest in dual language programs, and ensure student access to ethnic studies, visual & performing arts, and career & technical education.

California has one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the nation. Ethnic minorities account for over 71 percent of the student population, with more than 90 languages spoken in the state’s school districts

Given California’s annual increase in population diversity, it is especially important that students build knowledge of the various racial and ethnic groups in our state. Incorporating ethnic studies courses into standard high school curriculum is a means to accomplish this. In doing so, students gain an encompassed outlook on other cultures while learning respect and tolerance. Additionally, it provides students with the opportunity to learn about their respective culture in the context of California’s history.

Developing ethnic studies programs in all public high schools is an integral part of cultivating a classroom environment that is accepting of diverse cultures. It is vital for young people to learn about their history, but also important for them to feel like they can change their communities in positive ways. This bill will help close the achievement gap by reducing student truancy, increasing student enrollment, reduce drop-out rates, and better prepare Californian youth to be college-prepared and career-ready.

 

Hire more nurses, counselors, social workers, and teacher librarians.  Reduce the number of standardized tests used in the classroom and let teachers decide what works best for their students.

“At present, our national policy relies on the belief that constant testing will improve the education of children in the poorest neighborhoods. But this is the cheapest way to supply schooling, not the best way or the right way. The children with the greatest needs are the most expensive to educate. They will not have equality of educational opportunity if their schools focus relentlessly on preparing them to take state tests. Like children in elite private schools and affluent suburbs, they need the arts and sports and science laboratories and libraries and social workers; they need school nurses and guidance counselors. They need to learn history and civics, to read literature and learn foreign languages. They need the latest technology and opportunities to learn to play musical instruments, to sing in groups, to make videos, and to perform in plays. They need beautiful campuses too. It will not be cost-effective to give them what they need. It is expensive. What is needed most cannot be achieved by cutting costs, hiring the least experienced teachers, increasing class size, or replacing teachers with computers”. 
– Diane Ravitch: Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools