Teachers union to boycott LAUSD’s optional acceleration days
The teacher’s union voted to boycott the extra acceleration days Los Angeles Unified added to the calendar this school year, United Teachers Los Angeles announced Friday. The union will instead hold a rally. The vote comes two weeks after UTLA filed a complaint against the district about LAUSD’s decision to add the four optional acceleration days and extend the school year by one week, which it said the district did without bargaining with the union and without input from families, faculty and staff.
School board members voted to add four acceleration days and three extra professional development days in April in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on learning. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho shared this month that last school year’s statewide test results, which have not yet been released, will show significant gaps in achievement.
The added days will cost the district $122 million. While the professional development days occurred before the start of the school year, the acceleration days are set to take place on Wednesdays throughout the school year. The first one, which UTLA is planning to boycott, will take place Oct. 19.
“Every student has a right to freely access a high-quality and equitable education that provides them with the skills necessary to build a thriving future. However, LAUSD has made clear that they would rather squander $122 million of precious education dollars and simply feign support for students,” UTLA stated in a news release Friday in which the union claims LAUSD is prioritizing optics over student needs by going through with this plan.
The union criticized the district’s decision to hold these days spread throughout the school year, questioned their potential effectiveness and emphasizes the potential impact on evaluations that it believes opting out of the optional days could have. UTLA is requesting that the district reallocate the funds to other programs focused on student learning and career outcomes.
“Students are our number one priority and it’s time LAUSD’s budget priorities reflect this — instead of the false premise that four optional school days could bridge the disparities of years of educational underfunding,” the release read.
LAUSD said the point of the planned acceleration days is to make time to provide extra support to students who need it.
“This is to accelerate students’ progress toward grade-level proficiency, social emotional learning and high school graduation, while providing teachers and other employees an opportunity to earn extra pay,” the district wrote in a statement.
LAUSD is currently in negotiations with UTLA over a new contract. Negotiations assumed this month after the union’s summer hiatus.
This update was updated to include comment from LAUSD.