Occupy LAUSD Protesters March For Education Funding
The United Teachers of Los Angeles did not officially endorse the “Occupy LAUSD” march.
Parallel to the criticism of the wealthy at Occupy Wall Street, Occupy LAUSD participants say billionaire reformers like Eli Broad are damaging public education.
“What is happening right now is deliberate underfunding in order to starve our schools and be given away to corporate,” said demonstrator Marcy Winograd.
Protestors rallied at City Hall before marching to LAUSD headquarters, where the Board of Education met. Participants chanted, “they say cut back, we say fight back” and waved signs that read “we want our teachers back, education is under attack,” while setting up tents to mirror the Occupy LA protest.
Teachers, parents, and students voiced concerns via microphone to support the cause. “This is a campaign for the resources our school needs, this is a fight for the soul of public education” said Gillian Russom a teacher at Roosevelt High School. “What is going on?” she questioned, when there is money to bail out the banks that created this crisis and no money for the people that serve our students every single day”.
A 12-year-old student from Johnnie Cochran Middle School was also there to support her teachers and shed light on what is happening at her school. “I am here because our school needs some books, they are ripped and we can’t read from that.”
“LAUSD laid off thousands of educators and school staff despite their $55 million surplus, classes are crammed with more than 40 students and school libraries are being closed,” said Jose Lara, one of the lead organizers and a member of the UTLA board of directors.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy condemned the protesters’ claims in a news statement earlier Tuesday. The bulk of that money was used to retain 330 positions that had been slated for elimination, hire an additional 160 certificated employees and 300 clerical and other support personnel.
He called the participants of the march “misinformed,” saying their actions were “contrary to the spirit and intent of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy LA, and the other laudable movements for economic justice that have sprung up around the country and the world over the last month.”
“Deasy will never understand the 99% because he is not one of us” said Lara.
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