This year’s UTLA Leadership Conference was a historic gathering of member leaders from all over the city. We celebrated our strike victory, analyzed the work that made our campaign successful, and discussed the next steps in our campaign to continue moving our pro-educator, pro-student and pro-public education program.
What is Our New Deal?
The New Deal of the 1930s called for attacking the Great Depression on multiple fronts — RELIEF for the unemployed and working poor, RECOVERY of the economy, and REFORM of the financial system. U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal calls for an end to global warming, with an economy built around more green jobs and clean energy programs.
Now our movement for public education needs a similarly big, bold transformation. We just led a strike that won agreements on an unprecedented breadth of issues and contributed to a national movement of educators, organized labor, and communities acting collectively for change. Our strike shifted the narrative nationally. Now is the time to fulfill the promise of public education as an essential civic institution that honors the hopes and meets the needs of every student, parent, and educator who walked a picket line in 2019. “The New Deal for Public Schools” leans us further into the values that we believe in.
This New Deal for Public Schools platform is not just a pledge, it is an organizing strategy to empower our school communities; it drives us in making our contract wins real through enforcement; it frames our reopener and healthcare bargaining campaigns as community issues; it is a mobilizing strategy to get out the vote and win four School Board seats; it drives the essential work to pass the Schools and Communities First ballot initiative; it will shape the narrative for the US presidential elections.
We take the worksite power we built through the strike to our communities and to the ballot box, using five principles to restore, reinvest, and reclaim the promise of public education.
Nurture the Whole Child
- Expand Community Schools
- Lower class sizes and hire more librarians, counselors, and health and human services professionals
- Broaden the curriculum and reduce standardized testing
- Create safe schools through increased staffing and restorative practices
- Increase investments in adult education, early education, multilingual education, and special education
- Pay educators like professionals, with high-quality healthcare and a secure retirement
- Improve working conditions; principals must support educators
- Empower educators to make decisions about their work, their instruction, and their school
Respect Students & Parents
- Ensure that all students, including immigrant families, are free from harassment, surveillance, and random searches at school
- Support movements for economic, racial, gender, LGBTQ, and social justice
- Expand green space and win free public transportation for students
- Use the district’s leverage and unused land to win expansion of affordable housing
- Increase parent and student decision- making on local council and beyond
Fully Fund Public Schools
- Build the 20 X 20 campaign ($20,000 in per-pupil funding by the year 2020)
- Close corporate tax loopholes (Schools and Communities First ballot initiative)
- Massively expand special education (IDEA) and Title I funding
- Halt the growth of charter schools and stop co-locations
- Hold all schools to the same standards of transparency and accountability
- Fight the corporate charter industry’s influence in politics