More than 30,000 Los Angeles teachers demanding pay raises and smaller classes walked off the job in America’s second-largest school system on Monday (January 14), marching downtown in the rain after negotiations over a new contract broke down.
Students arriving for classes at some 900 campuses across the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) were met by their teachers carrying picket signs in the city’s first teachers’ strike in three decades. The system educates some 640,000 students.
Some 20,000 teachers, union members and supporters gathered outside City Hall, carrying umbrellas in a rare Southern California rainstorm and chanting as they prepared to march toward district headquarters. No end date has been given for the strike.
Officials for the district, which serves mostly working-class families who would struggle to find child care if classes were canceled, kept schools open, staffed by administrators and substitute teachers. — Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday renewed his push for the government to uphold the welfare of teachers amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Gatchalian made the call following the deaths of five Department of Education (DepEd) personnel in Isabela due to coronavirus infection.
“Habang patuloy ang pagtaas ng mga kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa, lalong dapat paigtingin ng DepEd ang pag-aalaga sa ating mga gurong isinasakripisyo ang kanilang kaligtasan at kalusugan upang maipagpatuloy ng ating mga kabataan ang kanilang pag-aaral,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“Kailangang tiyakin sa ating mga guro na may agarang tulong na maipapaabot sa kanila kung sakaling sila ay magkasakit,” he added.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, said that upholding the welfare of teachers entails the strict enforcement of the alternative work arrangement, the assurance of access to COVID-19 testing, treatment for those who would contract the virus, and the prioritization of teachers in the vaccination program.
DepEd last year assured that its personnel is covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) also offers the Employees’ Compensation (EC) Program, which provides income, medical, and other health benefits in the event of work-related sickness, injury, or death.
The School Division Office (SDO) in Isabela earlier said that it has reached out to the grieving families to provide urgent assistance and facilitate the expeditious release of benefits. DepEd also said that the infections were acquired through community transmission and not in their line of work.
Teachers’ groups have been calling on DepEd to extend financial assistance to personnel who get sick with COVID-19, claiming that teachers who got infected did not receive financial assistance from the government.
They said that any financial assistance extended to them comes from personal contributions or personal help from some government officials.
Gatchalian also reiterated his push to move up teachers in the COVID-19 vaccination priority list.
Teachers are currently under the B1 category with other social workers.
Gatchalian argued that teachers should instead be in the A4 sector with the frontline personnel of other essential sectors.
While most public schools across the country will begin the new school year with online education in the fall, private schools in Los Angeles are preparing to open their classroom doors to students for face-to-face learning.
At St. Benedict School in Montebello, one of 200 private schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, classrooms have been adjusted for social distancing, with cardboard partitions on top of desks to keep students apart. Class sizes have also been modified and temperature checks will be carried out when lessons resume on September 9.
Principal Frank Loya Jr. told Reuters on Tuesday (July 14) his teachers are eager to return to school, after facing difficulties teaching from home.
“Very challenging because the majority of my teachers have children. So, they’re also teaching their class, their students in their classroom. Plus, since their children are at home also, they had to be teaching, directing them. Some of their children attend public school and some of them attend St. Benedict also. So, all that adjustment, I think, as teachers were very stressed,” he said.
A few miles away at St. Joseph School in La Puente, classrooms, restrooms and water fountains are being rebuilt to comply with new COVID-19 guidelines. The school had already planned renovations prior to the pandemic but with additional funding, they decided to expand further.
St. Joseph School currently has 200 students enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year
“Education isn’t the same when you’re not in a classroom setting,” said principal Luis Hayes. “When children are at home, it’s hard to have classroom management, and the student level of engagement changes. So, when you’re in a classroom setting and when you’re with the teacher, you have the classroom management and you have the engagement piece,” he said.
Hayes said there’s an vitally important emotional that comes with in-person instruction.
“For students to come back to school, it’s important that we give them that social emotional aspect and we give them time where they know how to socialize, but they know how to do it safely. And we practice all the social distancing,”
There are approximately 73,000 students enrolled in 200 schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the new school year.
Tuition cost ranges from $5,000 for primary schools up to $11,437 for high school. (Reuters)
The pilot of a helicopter that crashed in foothills near Los Angeles, killing basketball great Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and all seven others on board, likely became disoriented in the fog, federal investigators said on Wednesday (June 17).
The National Transportation Safety Board report said pilot Ara Zobayan told air traffic controllers that his helicopter was climbing, when in fact it was descending shortly before slamming into a hillside outside the community of Calabasas on Jan. 26.
The NTSB said that pilots can become confused over an aircraft’s attitude and acceleration when they cannot see the sky or landscape around them, causing “spacial disorientation.”
“Without outside references or attention to the helicopter’s attitude display, the actual pitch and bank angles have the potential to be misperceived,” the NTSB said.
The findings came in a “public docket” released by the NTSB as it investigates the crash. The agency has not yet released its final report. (Reuters)
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