by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Editors at the Washington Examiner lament the latest evidence of big city unions that pursue policies against children’s interests.
Public sector unions in Los Angeles are COVIDing the city’s children all over again.
Unionized educational support workers such as bus drivers and teachers’ assistants in Los Angeles Unified School District have walked off the job, unhappy with an offer of a mere 23% pay increase.
The district’s teachers unions, in solidarity with the strikers, have also told their members to walk out. As they showed throughout the COVID pandemic by pressing school districts to stay closed, teachers unions have no solidarity with the children they are supposed to educate. The core mission is once again being shoved aside. Many low-income parents may have to skip work and lose pay to supervise their children while unions strike.
The Los Angeles school district has lost 11% of its student population since COVID began — a sharp acceleration of a cumulative 25% enrollment decline over 10 years. This is partly due to the state’s population loss, which is partly related to the dismal schools. But there’s more to this than population loss, as a look at other school systems demonstrates.
For example, the number of publicly funded independent charter school students in Los Angeles has stayed level since COVID after increasing by 27% over the last decade. Student enrollment at the Catholic schools run by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is up 4.6% since June 2020, even as local public school enrollment declines each year. Meanwhile, the doubling of new homeschool affidavits filed by California parents in the first year of the pandemic points to rapid growth as well.
So this is not about fertility rates but mostly about the people who work for Los Angeles’s traditional public schools refusing to do their jobs.
Residents of Los Angeles pay some of the highest taxes in the nation and get some of the worst government services. Police no longer fight crime, and the results speak for themselves. Formerly beautiful public spaces are filled with squalid and trash-strewn homeless/drug encampments. The problem gets worse the more taxpayer money the city and state throw at it.
And, of course, the schools are closed yet again.