Freedom for me, but not for thee: Larry Sand

Posted on: April 22, 2020

On Thursday, April 9th the Los Angeles Unified School District struck a distance-learning pact with the United Teachers of Los Angeles. The seat-of-the-pants labor agreement was necessitated by the closing of all district schools due to COVID-19. And the deal is an amazing one for teachers.

As I recently wrote, the regular union contract stipulates that the professional workday for a full-time regular employee “requires no fewer than eight hours of on-site and off-site work.” Yet the deal engineered by UTLA boss Alex Caputo-Pearl requires teachers to provide instruction and student support for just four hours per day and also to “host three office hours for students” every week. So instead of a 40-hour work week, teachers in L.A. only have to be available for 23 hours. Additionally, teachers can create their own work schedules “and not be required to teach classes using live video conferencing platforms.”

So teachers can do pretty much what they want, whenever they want, and neither the school district nor the union seem to be overly concerned about what, if anything, the children learn. But it is a very different story in private schools. For example, at Our Lady of Mercy High School, a Catholic school in Rochester, NY, not much has changed due to COVID-19. Sure, the kids don’t have to report to school, but their work schedules haven’t been altered. Focusing on ninth grader Molly Topa, Democrat & Chronicle reporter Justin Murphy writes that “her day begins at 7:53 a.m. on the dot – not when she rolls out of bed, or when she gets around to logging online – the same time she reported to school pre-virus.”

To read the rest of this column at the California Policy Center, please click here.

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