LA teacher says lack of student services galvanized teachers strike

Los Angeles high school teacher Judy Arteaga said in an interview that aired Thursday on "Rising" that the lack of services provided to students in the school district galvanized teachers to go on their first strike in three decades. 

"I think just seeing how our students aren't being serviced appropriately by our school system, and by the lack of resources available to us and to them," Arteaga, a science teacher at San Pedro High School, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Wednesday when asked what led LA teachers to strike. 

"There aren't nurses at each of our campuses. There's a lack of counseling staff at our campuses. There's not a librarian at most of our campuses," she continued. "Seeing that our students are being short-changed and that they're not getting the education that they deserve really was a rallying point for teachers to kind of take to the streets and to express that to make their voices heard."

Arteaga said the learning environment in the Los Angeles school district can negatively follow students outside of the classroom. 

"You see the effects of not having access to a library for doing research and for learning the skills our students are going to need when they go onto college," she said. "You see not having a nurse on our campus for students who are sick or even in the case of an emergency where other staff members are triaging the situation, but they're definitely not as qualified as they could be to best support our students." 

"The same with mental health resources. We are a large, urban school district. We have students that deal with a variety of issues and trauma on a day to day basis, so to not have counseling staff that can best support them or support their needs is really an experience that LA educators deal with on a pretty regular basis," she said.

The United Teachers Los Angeles officially went on strike on Monday after months of failed negotiations over pay, staffing, and class sizes. 

Teachers in the union are demanding a 6.5 percent immediate pay raise to go into effect within one year, in addition to “fully staffed” schools.

The district on Friday offered an additional $24 million and 200 more teachers than their previous offer.

— Julia Manchester