California’s largest teachers union is demanding the Los Angeles Unified School District grant educators subsidized child care before they resume in-person teaching.
“We call on LAUSD to stand behind a commitment to get through this crisis together by offering parents and care-giving educators the same choice they are offering families at large – the opportunity to continue caring for our loved ones – without leaving our jobs as the current model requires. Accommodations for working parents and caregivers are essential to ensuring that LAUSD retains employees,” a petition from United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) member Maya Daniels stated.
The petition, which already garnered more than 2,000 signatures, claimed that the district has a “moral and ethical obligation to support parents, including their own employees” by offering childcare options for “children below the age of 5, with special needs or medical risks, or attending other school districts” beyond the programs already provided by LAUSD.
“Yes, we know healthcare and essential workers have faced these challenges all year. However, a competition to the bottom is not in any of our best interests,” the petition states. “We do not want anything we don’t believe everyone is entitled to: employer support for children and families.”
LAUSD has refused to reopen classrooms until at least April 12, a decision that received criticism from parents. Despite the fact that multiple California school districts have already returned to in-person learning, some on a hybrid schedule, the UTLA has joined the pressure campaign against the district by urging administrators to offer more childcare options for teachers and their children before reopening.
“As millions of working families — including frontline workers in hospitals, grocery stores, food processing plants, sanitation, transportation, and other professions — have been forced to leave home for work and scramble to find childcare throughout the pandemic, it’s become more clear than ever that we as a society must do more to provide affordable childcare options for families with children too young for school,” UTLA said in a statement.
In a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to comment on the unfolding situation despite the Biden administration’s previous support for delaying school reopenings to meet unions’ demands.