Teaching Artists & the Los Angeles Teachers' Strike

Teaching artists in Los Angeles found ways to support their certified teacher colleagues in the recent Los Angeles Unified School District strike. The strike, which lasted for six days and ended on January 22, called for smaller class sizes, better services for students, and better pay for more than 30,000 teachers.

In a post on their blog, the Teaching Artists Guild stated their support of the strike saying that "onsite, during school-day arts programming taught with teaching artist partners should be canceled during the strike," in solidarity with the district teachers. Jean Johnstone, the executive director of the Teaching Artist Guild, told Hyperallergic, "this is a new area for us. We’re not a union, but we want to do the right thing and stand by our colleagues who are striking.” A credentialed teacher needs to be present when teaching artists are in the classroom, so teaching artist programs were effectively on hold during the strike. 

Some teaching artists joined teachers on the picket line, including San Pedro-based visual artists Jayn Ghormley. Ghormley said, "teachers are my heroes. When they were striking, I needed to be with the teachers." Many organizations were less explicit in their support of the strike, saying they both supported teachers and saw the need for the district to find a financial balance. 

Marissa Sykes, a teaching artist at Inner-City Arts who works at the Creativity Lab, hopes the strike's benefits outweigh the disruption to their students' lives. "I want the students to know that their communities are behind them," she told Hyperallergic. "I’m excited for students to see their teachers being dedicated to fight for them.”

Read more in the Teaching Artist Guild blog post and the Hyperallergic Article. 

Photo from the Teaching Artist Guild Blog Post: Red for Ed

Published: February 01, 2019