California Educator

April/May 2023

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Page 17 of 61

I T W A S D U R I N G the 1960s that I began my Los Angeles Unified School District journey. After my first day in kindergarten, my mom mentioned that I'd be going back the next day. My response was something that meant "been there, done that." Regardless of what I said, I did go back the following day and countless days thereafter. I was an LAUSD student from kindergarten through high school. My further studies led me to a teaching credential. I started my teaching career for LAUSD in 1984 (Vermont Avenue, not far from where the Olympics were taking place at the time). I transferred to the San Fernando Valley in 1990 so I could be closer to my newborn and where my husband and I had our home. Through the years I have had the pleasure of teaching all elementar y grade levels (TK-5). I will be leaving LAUSD when I retire this year. One of the memories I will always carry with me relates to the picket signs I carried along the way. In 1970, LAUSD had their first strike. I was only in third grade, but I actually walked the picket line. My dad carried a sign that read "Alumni Care" (he had been an LAUSD student). I made a sign that said, "Future Alumni Care Too!" And as a teacher I have been part of the other LAUSD strikes. Now, years later, I continue to teach for this school district that has become such an integral part of me. I am honored to be an educator. Whether on the picket line, in a classroom, or from a computer at home during the pandemic, I am always fighting to provide the best for our students - our future! On the picket line in 2019, I told the students who braved the pouring rain with us how proud I was of them and that they would remember this strike as I remember my first strike. I wonder how many people can say they were part of every LAUSD strike. (Let the author and the Educator know at Susan Aslan is a member of United Teachers Los Angeles/NEA. Shortly after she retired, UTLA went on strike again. She participated in that strike, as well. A retiring LA educator looks back on her career — including her times on the picket lines By Susan Massarik Aslan Strike 3, I'm In 1970: Organizations representing educators and support service personnel throughout LAUSD came together under the banner of UTLA and its affiliates. A strike in 1970 solidified the union. 1989: Nearly 20,000 UTLA members joined picket lines for nine days to demand higher pay and more decision-making control. They won a three-year contract of yearly 8 percent salary increases and implementation of school site decision-making and management. 2019: UTLA members' six-day strike drew 30,000+ educators and supporters to the streets. It forced LAUSD to relinquish its power to raise class sizes unilaterally, added 300 more school nurses and 77 more middle and high school counselors, and secured a 6 percent raise for teachers. 2023: UTLA members went on strike for three days in March in solidarity with SEIU 99, which represents teacher assistants, custodians, food service workers, bus drivers and other support staff. The day after, SEIU 99 reached agreement with the district on key demands, including a 30 percent wage increase. UTLA's 4 Strikes 16 Spotlight Y O U R V O I C E

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