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Home / News / Education / LAUSD, UTLA reach agreement on ‘optional’ instructional days

LAUSD, UTLA reach agreement on ‘optional’ instructional days

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The Los Angeles Unified School District and its teachers union have reached an agreement over four optional instructional days that were added to the academic calendar in an effort to recoup learning lost during the pandemic, but which the union blasted as a stunt implemented without proper negotiations.

In late August, United Teachers Los Angeles announced that its members had voted overwhelmingly to boycott the first optional instruction day, which was set for Oct. 19.

But under an agreement reached between the district and union Tuesday, the optional days will instead be rescheduled during winter and spring breaks — Dec. 19-20 and April 3-4. The days will remain optional, and teachers who opt to work will be paid at their regular salary rate.

“Differing perspectives may sometimes keep children from the best they should get but fair alternatives can always be negotiated,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho wrote on his Twitter page Wednesday morning. “A win is only a win if kids, too, are winners. I’ll celebrate the consensus that is emerging around strategic days of education acceleration for them.”

UTLA officials said moving the optional days to the winter and spring breaks will eliminate what the union called disruptions that would have been caused by holding them on “random Wednesdays” during the regular instructional calendar.

“The truth is four optional school days that create disruptions during the school year would not positively impact student learning as much as investing in smaller class sizes, increased mental health supports and robust extracurricular activities,” union member and second-grade teacher Phylis Hoffman said in a statement released by UTLA. “That is why since LAUSD announced the accelerated days, principals, teachers, parents and students alike have all raised their voices to demand the district cancel the unilateral calendar changes they made in April without bargaining. Now, we can focus on real investments for our students. When we stand together, we win for our students, our schools, and our communities.”

The optional days were originally scheduled on Oct. 19, Dec. 7, March 15 and April 19.

UTLA filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the district over the optional days issue, calling the move 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.

The additional school days were announced in April. Carvalho said they “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.”

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