The union representing Los Angeles Unified School District teachers announced Tuesday it has filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the district, alleging that four “optional” instructional days were added to the LAUSD academic calendar for the coming year without union negotiations.
United Teachers Los Angeles contends the four days, despite being considered “optional,” were imposed without any consultation with parents, teachers or other district employees. The union called it an overstepping of the district’s authority, and a failure to include teachers in discussions about how to recover learning time lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Educators are the ones in the classroom day to day, not Superintendent (Alberto) Carvalho, yet they are being left out of conversations on how to most effectively invest in student learning,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement. “Instead, the district has chosen to make hasty decisions that will have more negative consequences for both educators and students, while the contract for more than 30,000 employees has expired.
“We strongly urge LAUSD to rectify this situation by withdrawing the additional days and bargaining in good faith, so that we can prioritize funding for the programs and initiatives proven to ensure student success.”
The union and district are currently engaged in contract negotiations.
“Los Angeles Unified has, and continues to, meet with UTLA to discuss work and academic calendars,” a district representative said in a statement. “UTLA has recently filed an Unfair Practice Charge regarding purely optional days which afford teachers the opportunity to work with small groups of students who may need additional instruction. Additional pay will be offered to teachers choosing to participate.
“The district looks forward to further discussions with UTLA on this and other topics as we work together for the school communities we serve.”
The additional school days for the coming year were announced in April, with LAUSD officials saying the days are for “optional, targeted, accelerated instructional opportunities … which will provide real-time support and assistance to catch up and meet grade-level standards or earn a C or better in their courses or to get ahead.”
The optional days are scheduled to be held during the upcoming school year on Oct. 19, Dec. 7, March 15 and April 19.
“The acceleration days are designed to benefit those who need to cover the most academic ground and will address the critical goals of the board, including literacy, numeracy and credit recovery to reach proficiency and be prepared for college and career success,” according to the district’s website.
At the time, Carvalho said the additional days “will be designed to provide a deep level of supplemental academic support for our students who need it the most — students who have lost the most ground, students in foster care, students with English language limitations or one or more disabilities. We must have the courage and compassion to provide extended quality instruction time for these students and professional development for our teachers.”