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What? A strike? Parents blindsided by looming LAUSD walkout that is closing schools

Sonja Sharp and Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

“I don’t know how I’m going to do it,” said Castillo, whose first-grader is just learning to read. “My main concern is she’ll get behind, especially on reading and writing,” skills children must master by age 9 to avoid falling behind other subjects, experts say.

El Sereno Elementary School mother Teresa Aguilar, 38, was similarly disappointed that a school district still reeling from pandemic learning setbacks would put itself in a position to surrender “more valuable learning time.”

“The kids haven’t recovered from the last break and now we’re going to send them home again,” she said. “It might be only three days, but that’s a lot.”

In reality, three days is a lot more for some students than others. A magnet school senior might not mind staying home to await college admissions decisions, while a deaf toddler helped by a specialized district program could languish in isolation from their American Sign Language-fluent teachers.

But for the district’s very youngest parents, the pregnant teens and adolescent mothers who attend McAllister High School, a strike means losing both their instructional hours and their child care.

For these student-parents, “the clock is ticking all the time,” said one teacher.


“The clock is ticking for you to be done with school. The clock is ticking for you to learn English. The clock is ticking for you to figure out how to advocate for yourself and your child,” teacher Tanya Reyes explained. “Now you’re a student and a mom.”

For her students, Reyes said every day out of the classroom is a day closer to delivery, or to the day their babies grow from docile infants into demanding toddlers.

But she believes her school can’t attract the bilingual aides they need unless Local 99 gets the bump in pay that workers are striking for.

And despite the late-breaking news of the school closures and widespread anxiety, many parents agree with her.


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