| July 11, 2020 04:56 PM
The Los Angeles Teachers Union issued a research paper arguing schools in the district can’t reopen without certain policy provisions in place ranging from mandatory face masks to a “moratorium” on charter schools and the defunding of police.
With classes set to begin on Aug. 18, United Teachers Los Angeles, a union consisting of 35,000 members, outlined a series of demands that should be met before reopening,
The union stressed the need for precautions to stem the spread of the coronavirus, including students being assigned to small sequestered groups, face masks, protective equipment, and school campuses being reconfigured to allow the maximum possible social distancing.
The paper argued that the pandemic "underscores" inequality in the United States.
“The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States underscores the deep equity and justice challenges arising from our profoundly racist, intensely unequal society,” the paper read. “Unlike other countries that recognize protecting lives is the key to protecting livelihoods, the United States has chosen to prioritize profits over people. The Trump administration’s attempt to force people to return to work on a large scale depends on restarting physical schools so parents have childcare. In Los Angeles, this means increasing risk especially in Black and Brown working communities, where people are more likely to have 'essential' jobs, insufficient health care, higher levels of preexisting health conditions, and to live in crowded housing."
“Meanwhile,” it continued, “the rewards of economic recovery accrue largely to white and well-off communities that have largely been shielded from the worst of the pandemic’s effects.”
The union also made several political demands that are aligned with calls being made by Democrats across the country, including defunding the police and charter schools.
“Police violence is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue,” the union said. "We must shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health.”
As for charter schools, the union called for a “moratorium." The paper contended that they “drain resources” from public schools and claimed that they “double-dipped” during the pandemic by taking federal bailouts, even though their state funding did not decline.
The paper ended with a section titled, “In Conclusion: Normal Wasn’t Working For Us Before. We Can’t Go Back.”