The largest teacher’s union in Los Angeles said they will not allow schools to reopen until the county meets a series of radical social justice-related demands.
Among them are the defunding of the Los Angeles Police Department and the implementation of a federal “Medicare for All” program.
Both are platforms linked to the Joe Biden campaign, meaning the teachers likely intend to children’s right to a free and appropriate public education as a political bludgeon against President Donald Trump’s re-election.
United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents more than 35,000 members, argued in a research paper released this week that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed several inequalities that the school districts must address before reopening.
“The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States underscores the deep equity and justice challenges arising from our profoundly racist, intensely unequal society,” the paper stated.
“Unlike other countries that recognize protecting lives is the key to protecting livelihoods, the United States has chosen to prioritize profits over people,” it continued.
It is unclear whether the unionized teachers would be willing to forgo other salary or benefits from which they personally profit in order to see their social-justice demands met.
The paper went on to slam the Trump administration for “forcing people to return to work on a large scale” after the shutdown was lifted.
In Los Angeles, “this means increasing risk especially in [b]lack and [b]rown working communities, where people are more likely to have ‘essential’ jobs, insufficient health care, higher levels of preexisting health conditions, and to live in crowded housing,” the letter claimed.
Because of this, Los Angeles must level the playing field and endorse a federal “Medicare for All” program, as well as several wealth taxes, since the pandemic has disproportionately affected ethnic and racial minorities, the union argued.
Los Angeles must also recognize that “police violence is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue,” the letter said.
This means defunding the police department and reallocating its resources “to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.”
The union does not, however, specify how much money must be cut from the LAPD’s budget.
The teacher’s union then blasted charter schools for being a drain on the resources of public school districts. Los Angeles must place a moratorium on all charter schools, the union demanded.