Is the L.A. teachers’ strike a sign of things to come in Philly?
The education world has its eye on Los Angeles this week, where about 30,000 school staff members have gone on strike.
The issues at stake there — charter growth, class size, teacher pay, and lack of support staff, including nurses — will sound familiar to those who have followed years of clashes between the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. They certainly sound familiar to longtime PFT head Jerry Jordan.
“What happens in L.A. is going to happen across the country,” said Jordan. “Things don’t just occur in one urban setting and stop there.”
It’s impossible to say whether Philly teachers will someday follow in the footsteps of their West Coast counterparts.
But the educational earthquake in California is a reminder that Philadelphia school staff now have the option of striking, a choice they didn’t have for years.
During the 17-year reign of the state-controlled School Reform Commission, state law forbade Philadelphia teachers, and Philadelphia teachers alone, from striking.
When the SRC dissolved last year, so did the prohibition against striking.
The new Board of Education won’t have to worry immediately about the prospect of a teachers’ strike in Philadelphia. About a year before the SRC ceded control to the locally appointed school board, the commission signed a labor pact with the PFT that expires in September 2020.