Los Angeles Teachers’ Union: Free Up Funds to Reopen Schools by Defunding Police

In this Thursday, March 19, 2020, photo, Rebecca Biernat watches as her son Seamus Keenan, 6, takes a live class online at their home in San Francisco. At bottom is their dog, Rosie. California's Bay Area has been shut down for more than a week, the first region of America …
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

A research paper released by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) suggests government schools could free up funds needed to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic if police are defunded.

“Police violence is a leading cause of death and trauma for Black people, and is a serious public health and moral issue,” the paper said, citing research from the American Public Health Association titled “Addressing Law Enforcement Violence as a Public Health Issue.”

“We must shift the astronomical amount of money devoted to policing, to education and other essential needs such as housing and public health,” the union said, advocating that schools meet more social service needs.

As Fox News reported, the Los Angeles City Council has already slashed the Los Angeles Police Department by $150 million and indicated the funds will be redirected to low-income areas.

The UTLA document rebukes the Trump administration and Republicans for refusing to consider a “federal bailout” and for not providing more funding for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), to aid schools with high percentages of children from low-income families, and the Individuals With Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act.

UTLA said:

In early May, 25 senators wrote a letter voicing their support for IDEA’s full implementation at this time in conjunction with an additional appropriation of $12 billion in IDEA funding to ensure school districts across the country are able to meet the needs of students with disabilities. To date, that letter has been entirely ignored by the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and no such funding has been officially proposed or discussed in the Senate.

“To equitably start school, we must adhere to known best practices to prevent the virus’ spread while employing education practices that benefit all students, especially those suffering the most from learning loss and social isolation,” the union stated, adding:

Most organizations and individuals that have come out unequivocally in favor of reopening schools are either motivated by “reigniting the economy” (ignoring the fact that this is first and foremost a public health crisis and not primarily an economic crisis), or gloss over the likely impacts of starting school on broader school communities, to which our students are inextricably bound.

The union presses as well for the socialist healthcare plan “Medicare for All,” proposed by Democrat candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and now adopted by presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden:

Coronavirus shows definitively why we need Medicare For All. People fearful of crippling medical bills avoid seeking testing and treatment, leading to undetected COVID-19 cases and a likely increase in death rates thanks to people delaying medical care until they reach a critical condition. The boundless greed of the for-profit health industry, combined with this country’s deeply ingrained racism, has led to race-based health disparities that have resulted in excess deaths especially among Black communities long before the pandemic further widened the health gap.

Locally, UTLA claims paid sick leave, a moratorium on charter schools, and financial support for illegal aliens and their families are required to reopen schools as well.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools announced Monday it will not be reopening for in-person learning this fall.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to spread in the Los Angeles area and the virus is going to impact how we start the new school year,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a statement.

“While the new school year will begin on August 18th as scheduled, it will not begin with students at school facilities,” Beutner added. “The health and safety of all in the school community is not something we can compromise.”

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