By Marbella Trujillo ’19
Activist Marian Wright Edelman once wrote, “Education is improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” Seeking to improve their schools and communities, teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest school system, went on strike in January. From January 16 to January 22, LAUSD teachers went on strike at more than 1,000 schools for higher wages, lower class sizes, and additional staffing. This strike was the country’s largest strike in decades and was covered nationally on television and social media.
Wanting to gain insight from one of the striking 40,000 teachers, I interviewed my godmother, Patricia Nguyen, an LAUSD teacher who has worked in elementary schools throughout the Los Angeles area for the past 18 years. This year, she recently started working at Ford Blvd Elementary School, located in the city of East Los Angeles. She teaches dual Spanish and English class to her 4th grade students. Here is what she shared with me about her recent experience:
Did you strike?
“Yes, for the whole five days.”
How did striking make you feel?
“It made me feel like I could make a change and improve my students’ lives in the school setting. I also realized how a good cause can bring thousands of people together — not just teachers and people in education but parents, community members, and people in the government.”
Do you know any of your fellow co-workers that were part of this?
“I work at a large school and all 52 teachers stood together to fight for our students and public education.”
Was the outcome of the strike what you expected and how did you feel about it?
“Everything we asked for was not met but it is a beginning. More money from the state needs to be allocated to public education which is a whole other issue.”
Do you think the strike changed LAUSD’s minds about the classroom sizes and all the issues that were going on?
“I am not sure that it changed their minds but I do think that the district and its leaders have a good sense of where schools staff, parents, and the community stand. I also think this strike helped create consciousness in the community, lawmakers, and parents.”
After much discussion with my godmother about the strike, the most important messages for students of Immaculate Heart is to stand up for our community, school, and loved ones. In addition, the strike serves as a reminder to IH students that our teachers will do anything for us. They will fight, advocate, and support all of us wholefully and honestly!
Photo: LAUSD teacher Patricia Nguyen (right) with her colleagues during recent strike.