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The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster for Los Angeles public schoolteachers, parents and students.
After months of tense back-and-forth, more than 30,000 teachers were set to walk off the job on Thursday. But on Wednesday, legal questions prompted union leaders to postpone the strike until today.
And as the two sides didn’t renew negotiations over the weekend, pickets are set to begin at 7 a.m. My colleagues, like Jennifer Medina, will be covering the action today, but in the meantime, here’s what you need to know:
Why are the teachers striking?
Teachers and employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school system, say that working conditions have become untenable. Despite California’s reputation as a progressive bastion, the state still spends relatively little on public education — about half as much as New York spends on the average child.
Now, educators are demanding higher pay, smaller class sizes and the hiring of more support staff like counselors and librarians.
How did things get to this point?
Money, of course.
More specifically, profound disagreements about how much money the district has now and how much will likely be available in years to come.
While union leaders say that the district has big reserves that could help pay for all that they’re asking, other officials — most visibly Austin Beutner, the district superintendent — say that meeting the demands would bankrupt the district.
I have no ties to Los Angeles schools. Why should I care?
The strike is a new front in the debate about the role of public education in American life.
While teachers protesting severe underfunding of public schools have staged walkouts in six states over the past year, those have been largely in conservative or swing states with weaker unions.
The strike in Los Angeles shows that even in staunchly liberal areas many of the same tensions are bubbling over. And educators’ frustrations in L.A. could ripple across the state.
In Silicon Valley, for instance, teachers are facing not just tough working conditions, but also skyrocketing housing costs that often make it impossible for them to live near the students they teach.
I am a parent of a child in the district. What do I need to know?
You can still send your child to school, but there’s no question that classes will be disrupted: The district is enlisting highly paid substitutes and holding lessons in larger spaces.
Although absences will be counted as unexcused, some parents say they’ll be keeping their children home as a show of solidarity.
(A note: We often link to content on sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. We appreciate your reading Times stories, but we’d also encourage you to support local news if you can.)
• A man the authorities say gunned down a Davis police officer as she responded to a traffic collision was previously ordered to surrender an AR-15 rifle after punching a co-worker. The suspect was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. [The Sacramento Bee]
• Friends and family remembered the officer, Natalie Corona, 22, as a dedicated officer for whom law enforcement was a lifelong dream job. “Anything she did, she would make sure people had every resource available. It wasn’t about driving a fast car or making an arrest.” [The Sacramento Bee]
• In his first week in office, Gov. Gavin Newsom came out swinging at some of progressives’ most intractable bugaboos, including paid parental leave and housing. He also signed an executive order proposing a plan that would allow California to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers. [The New York Times]
• Geisha Williams, the chief executive of Pacific Gas and Electric, has stepped down amid the utility’s continuing woes over the role its equipment played in starting devastating wildfires. The company has also said it intends to file for bankruptcy protection. [The New York Times]
• PG&E equipment started more than one fire a day on average in recent years. Some of those were quickly extinguished. Some burned thousands of acres. [The Wall Street Journal]
• The partial government shutdown, now the longest ever, has claimed more Joshua trees as victims. The desert has taken a hit without enough National Park Service employees to prevent visitors from damaging the fragile environment. [The New York Times]
• SpaceX, the Elon Musk-led spaceship company, will lay off 10 percent of its work force. [The Los Angeles Times]
• Los Angeles had a mixed weekend in the N.F.L. playoffs: The Rams made the Cowboys look hapless on Saturday. On Sunday, the Chargers got thrashed by the Patriots. [The New York Times]
• The first baby gray whales of 2019 have been spotted off the coast of Orange County. [The Orange County Register]
• People have watched this video of a U.C.L.A. gymnast’s perfect floor routine millions of times. And for good reason — Katelyn Ohashi is pretty amazing. [UCLA Gymnastics]
And Finally …
How much would you pay for doggy day care? How much would you believe other people would pay?
If your answer was south of $1,500 a month, then you’re probably not living in San Francisco.
Yep, hyper-luxe, exclusive babysitting for your canine companion is the latest outrage-inducing display of wealth to roil residents of the city.
The Guardian reported that Doggy Style (that’s its real name) in Noe Valley offers perks for those who spring for its most expensive membership package including a “hand-painted mural” of their dogs on a wall of fame, as well as a private birthday party “for 12 pups and their humans.”
It may sound outrageous to pay more than the average rent on an Antelope Valley apartment for pet pampering, but the prices are actually in line with other similar services, the article says.
California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: [email protected].
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter,@jillcowan.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.
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