L.A. Teachers' Union Claims California's School Reopening Plan Is 'Structural Racism'
UTLA takes aim at California governor
The largest local teachers’ union in California has called Gov. Gavin Newsom’s school reopening plan "a recipe for propagating structural racism.”
The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) blasted Newsom's plan to provide $6.6 billion for schools to accelerate the reopening process as coronavirus cases drop.
The governor’s office said in a press release:
“$2 billion would fund safety measures to support in-person instruction, such as personal protective equipment, ventilation upgrades, and COVID-19 testing."
"$4.6 billion would fund expanded learning opportunities, such as summer school, tutoring, and mental health services."
The plans also hold financial incentive:
Schools would lose 1% in eligible funding for every day that they remain closed past the end of March for children in kindergarten through second grade.
“Schools in the state’s Red Tier or better would be required to offer in-person instruction to all students in all elementary grades and at least one middle or high school grade, or risk the same penalty,” the press release added.
10% of state vaccines would also be set aside for school employees,
But UTLA described the plan as racist.
In a press statement, it claimed rich schools in white areas would benefit most:
Educators are unfairly targeted by wealthier and healthier people who are not experiencing this disease in the same way as students and families in our communities.
If this were a rich person’s disease, we would have seen a very different response. We would not have the high rate of infections and deaths.
“If you condition funding on the reopening of schools, that money will only go to white and wealthier and healthier school communities that do not have the transmission rates that low-income Black and Brown communities do,” said UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz.
“This is a recipe for propagating structural racism, and it is deeply unfair to the students we serve.”
Our goals for a safe physical return to schools remain the same: One: LA County must be out of the purple tier. Two: Staff required to return to in-person work must be either fully vaccinated or provided access to full vaccination.
Three: Safety conditions must be in place in our schools, such as PPE, social distancing, ventilation, and a cleaning regimen.
Politico reported that the statewide California Teachers Association “praised parts of the plan on Monday, but made clear that local unions have negotiating rights."
The “purple” tier is the most severe category for COVID infections in California’s four-tier system.
Though infections have been dropping there in recent weeks, L.A. County is still in the purple tier.
Last month, the teachers union leader in Washington state faced backlash after claiming the school reopening efforts are fueled by "white supremacy."
President of the Pasco Association of Educators, Scott Wilson, even said that the apparent increase in lockdown suicides was "white privilege."