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LA teacher's union boss keeps over 500k kids out of school again, then enjoys an NBA suite experience

Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

One of the individuals instrumental in displacing over 500,000 kids from classrooms in Los Angeles and affording teachers a triad of unofficial days off this week is a BLM member who has previously discounted the deleterious impact of past union-driven school closures.

What's the background?

Local 99, which represents teacher's aides, food-service workers, and other non-teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District ecosystem, demanded a 30% across-the-board salary increase plus a $2/hour addition for the lowest-paid worker, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The LAUSD offered a 23% raise, starting with 2% retroactive hike as of the 2020-21 school year and ending with a 5% boost in 2024-25, among other perks. However, Local 99 turned down the offer and determined not to continue negotiations.

When the union went on strike Tuesday, the Los Angeles teacher's union, United Teachers Los Angeles, urged its members to join Local 99 in a solidarity strike. This resulted in the closure of schools across the district.

Pedro Noguera, dean of the USC Rossier School of Education, said that the LAUSD "is losing money each day schools remain closed, which means they’ll have even less to negotiate with. The workers are losing both because they are grossly underpaid and because their action may further weaken the district which they rely upon for their livelihoods."

More importantly, "kids are losing out on their education," said Noguera.

"Sadly, the disruption is occurring just as many were getting used to being in school again," Noguera added, referencing the disruption caused by the union-supported school closures during the pandemic.

A parent of one of the half-million kids ousted from a learning environment on account of the strike told CNN that the strike has highlighted the unreliability of the public school system.

Sea Krob, 32, said, "It’s really frustrating that the one thing that was supposed to be dependable is not."

Krob, still at college, said, "My partner is out of sick days for the year already – it’s March – so I am on the whims of whatever professor I have to have my kids come with me."

Wade Armstrong, father of a boy in the district, said, "It’s annoying and we’re sad to see the learning loss for our kids. ... It’s really coming on the heels of the holidays and with spring break coming up soon, it really feels like we’ve barely even had a spring semester."

The Los Angeles Times reported that students at all levels suffered academically as a result of the LAUSD school closures in March 2020. An analysis of the effects of school closures found that over 200,000 students were not meeting grade-level goals in math and reading.

Closure champion

The Daily Mail reported that United Teachers Los Angeles president and BLM member Cecily Myart-Cruz, who represents over 35,000 members in the city, rushed off to attend an NBA game in a box suite after announcing the strike.

Suites run anywhere from $3,765 to over $12,547, nearly half the yearly salary of some of those the union president may have had in mind while watching the Lakers game in luxury.

Although she and her ex-husband together have a son in the district, Myart-Cruz has previously underscored her sense that kids can stand to miss school.

When asked about her insistence on keeping schools closed for nearly two years and the potential impact such closures may have had on generations of children, Myart-Cruz told Los Angeles Magazine in August 2021, "There is no such thing as learning loss."

"Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a riot and a protest. They know the words insurrection and coup," she said.

The UTLA's champion of strikes and school closures suggested that "learning loss" was actually a fake crisis.

On the basis of her comments to LA Magazine and UTLA's initiatives under her leadership, Myart-Cruz appears less concerned with children's well being and more concerned with financial support for illegal aliens, so-called racial justice, and the elimination of the LAUSD school police.

When kids are afforded the opportunity to spend time in the classroom, Myart-Cruz underscored that a core function is indoctrination, telling LA Magazine, "Education is political. People don't want to say that, but it is."

Myart-Cruz previously made headlines for blaming "white wealthy parents" for wanting to get children back into classrooms, even though analysis has shown non-white children were more adversely impacted by closures, at least in the way of academics.

Great Public Schools Now issued a report in 2021 detailing the fallout of the closures Myart-Cruz championed, noting that "Black and Latino K-5 students fell the furthest behind with only 43% of Black students and 44% of Latino students on track in early reading skills this year."

Myart-Cruz claimed reopening schools would be a "recipe for propagating structural racism."

She also hinged the reopening of schools on the realization of her political aims, stating in 2020, "Reopening schools without ... a broader improvement of schools will be unsafe and will only deepen ... racial and class inequalities."

Robby Soave wrote in Reason, "It is brutally unfair that thousands of parents have no alternative but to entrust their kids' education to a system in which people like Myart-Cruz hold the power."

"Union officials who want to keep employees at home for as long as possible—and don't care how little math is being taught to students—do not have the kids' best interests in mind. They are demanding tremendous sacrifices from everyone else, and they have no reason to compromise because there's zero accountability," added Soave.

Myart-Cruz once boasted about that unaccountably, saying, "You can recall the Governor, you can recall the school board. But how are you going to recall me?"

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