Today marks the sixth school day of the strike for Los Angeles teachers, but teachers could be back in their classrooms tomorrow morning. The teachers union and the school district reached a tentative agreement today, that would in part reduce class sizes, increase the amount of counselors, nurses, and librarians on campuses, and give teachers a pay raise. The agreement still needs to be approved by members of the union, which is expected. Whatever the outcome is, Trina Gonzales-Alesi, the President of the Desert Sands Teachers’ Association, says will potentially affect school sizes and staffing in Coachella Valley schools.
“When you have a class size of 45 students, most of your attention goes to the students who are misbehaving,” Trina told NBC Palm Springs.
Furthermore while she says these class sizes are becoming normal, they are far from optimal.
“Really what you’re doing is crowd control. Then, the students who are trying to learn and make progress are overlooked.”
Which is why she says manageable class sizes make all the difference.
“When you have manageable class sizes, you can touch base with them, ask how things are going at home, so that you can create that relationship and be a trusting individual.”
As it stands, while the teachers’ strike seems to be coming to an end in Los Angeles, what they are asking for (and may receive) is not far off from what teachers need in the valley.
“Those three things, are also things we deal with at Desert Sands, so I know that on the heels of this tentative agreement, we will be look at that to guide negotiations for the district for what we ask for for our students.”
All in all, at the end of the day, Trina says they will continue pushing for better learning environments–for the direct benefit of the students.
“Teachers and all educators care very deeply about our students and being able to have a manageable class size is what we’re asking. Not super small classes so that we can have an impact on student’s lives and help them every day. That’s what we will always stand for.”
Moreover, Trina adds they have a good working relationship with the Desert Sands Unified School District and she does not believe a strike will be necessary, in order to meet student-teacher needs.