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Teachers on Day 6 of Hunger Stike Write Open Letter to LAUSD Board

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Following several days of protests by teachers, and their students, against the Los Angeles Unified School District and their recent decision to layoff hundreds of teachers, increase class sizes, and eliminate funding for several programs, the civil disobedience continues in the form of a hunger strike.

On a water-only fast since last Tuesday, many teachers are hoping their strike will gain the attention--and the action--of the LAUSD Board, particularly a few of its members they believe merit the brunt of the blame for the plight of the district.

Today, on the 6th day, one striking teacher, Jose Lara, published an open letter to those Board members, explaining their position and asking for support. The full text of the letter is after the jump.

Dear Board Members Garcia, Flores-Aguilar, and Vladovic: We write to you today to ask for your support. We have counted on it
before and you have been there for us in the past. You have been there to
push for A-G classes, small schools, decentralizing LAUSD, sending QEIA
funds to schools with the greatest need. But now when the need is
greatest, you have chosen not to fight for our children and instead you
have given in to fear and hopelessness.

This budget crisis is enormous, none of us doubt that. It is clearly too
large, in fact, to balance by cutting and cutting. We need to find new
sources of funds and that means fighting against those who would choose
the politically easiest path to balance the budget: taking from the most
vulnerable, our children. But instead of leading this fight, your choice
to unnecessarily cut our children’s classrooms has distracted and divided
us, leading even to calls for your recall.

We have begun this hunger strike to remind you of your purpose and your
obligation to the communities that gave you your office. It is your
responsibility to stand up for our children. Cesar Chavez once said that
to teach our children what it means to be fully man or woman requires each
of us to use our lives to show the way. We begin this hunger strike to
demonstrate what that means through our personal sacrifice. It is our
hope that you will join us by taking action.

We urge you to spend whatever stimulus money is needed to stop any class
size increases and rescind all layoff notices to teachers. Beyond that,
we urge you to abandon the impossible task of saving our schools by
cutting our classrooms and we urge you to lead us in the struggle to find
new sources of funds so that our children are among the last to suffer
under this economic crisis and not among the first.

We look forward to your leadership.

The participants in the Hungry for a Better Education fast

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