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Los Angeles teachers reach 'historic agreement' with district to end strike

Educators return to the classroom on Wednesday after more than a week of picketing

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Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are headed back to the classroom Wednesday, after voting to approve a "historic agreement" and ending a strike that lasted more than a week.

What are the details?

The strike began Jan. 14 with the district's 33,000 teachers, represented by the United Teachers of Los Angeles union, picketing for higher wages, smaller class sizes, more support staff, and greater restrictions on private charter schools, which they call a "privatization drain."

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl told reporters late Tuesday that preliminary counts showed "a vast super majority" of members voted that day to accept a deal reached with district officials, CNN reported.

"It is a historic agreement. It gets to lower class sizes," said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who helped mediate the negotiations. "It gets to proper support staff."

According to the Wall Street Journal, "the strike laid bare long-running tensions between union leaders and [Austin] Beutner, the school superintendent, who teachers made a focus of their ire."

Garcetti called for all sides to come together, saying, "It's time for the caricatures to end. This is not a superintendent who is a privatizer, corporatist, person working for special interests. And this is not just some union...drunk with their power for the sake of power. These are people committed to public education."

Under the new contract, teachers will receive a 6 percent salary increase; support staff will be boosted by adding nurses, librarians and counselors; and class sizes will be reduced.

How about the charter schools?

Caputo-Pearl said the agreement also addresses "having accountability and regulations on charter schools," but details on that portion of the deal were not disclosed.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Beutner did agree to propose a resolution "calling on the state to establish a charter school cap and the creation of a governor's committee on charter schools" at the next Board of Education meeting.

One last thing…
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