Today, 93% of United Teachers Los Angeles members voted in favor of a boycott on October 19th to protest the “Accelerated Days” program implemented by the Los Angeles United School District in April.
While these additional four days of optional instruction were implemented in an effort to help with academic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the teachers’ union is calling this a “stunt” and that the Los Angeles Board of Education should “fund students, not stunts.”
In a press release posted to Medium, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) claim the four days will impact about 80% of teachers within the union. Furthermore, the union claims “[t]he district chose to add these “Accelerated Days” at a cost of about $122 million without consulting with parents, teachers or other school workers.”
According to the press release, UTLA also believes these optional days will decrease equity in education, saying “[t]hese “Accelerated Days” are to distract from the district’s refusal to support an equitable education for all students by denying our children support and services proven to ensure student success. By arbitrarily scattering these days throughout the school calendar, real teaching and learning will be disrupted and dollars that were meant to be used on education will be wasted.”
These four “acceleration days” were originally designed to assist the most vulnerable students in catching up on their schoolwork after the pandemic. This development comes after a March 2021 report revealed that 40,000 Los Angeles high school students were not on track to graduate on time. Additionally, according to the same report, only one-third of the district’s middle school students are currently at grade level in reading and math. Some of the most severe learning loss was observed in the early grades, with reading skills declining the most in kindergarten and first grade when compared to the 2019-20 school year.
These days were supposed to take place on four Wednesdays during the first and second semesters, near the end of the grading period in the first semester, and around the 15-week mark in the second semester, according to district staff. However, with the boycott, it is unknown how the Los Angeles United School District will respond at this time.