Weingarten, United Teacher's Union, United Teachers Los Angeles discussed on On Point with Tom Ashbrook | Podcasts
July winegarden was on. Meet the press with chuck. Todd the bottom line is if we want kids to be in school and we want everybody to be say and we wanna keep schools open. This is what the scientists this is. What the pediatricians are telling us we need to do because delta and let's just all try to put the politics to the site and try to do this to get schools open. The this she was talking about was mask mandates not vaccine mandates for teachers in that same interview. She also said this. We're going to keep kids safe. We're going to keep our members save and we're to try to open up schools and we're gonna try to move through this portable battlefield. Well that commitment to quote try seemed like backsliding to a lot of alarmed parents especially as some local union such as the new york state. United teacher's union said they unequivocally did not support vaccine mandates or as jonathan chait in new york magazine. Put it quote so the delta vary at supposedly presents a medical threat so dire that it could potentially limit schooling for the third year in a row. But it's not serious enough to justify a vaccine requirement for teachers. Well then president. Joe biden announced a vaccine mandate for federal workers to which weingarten af t president said in a statement quote in order for everyone to feel safe and welcome in their workplaces. Vaccinations must be negotiated. Between employers and workers not coerced and then as we mentioned this week the nea and af t- shifted their stances weingarten expressed her support for vaccine mandates on nbc's. Meet the press on sunday since eighteen fifty we've dealt with vaccines and schools. It's not a new thing to have immunizations in schools. And i think that on a personal matter as a matter of personal conscious. I think that we need to be working with our employers. Not opposing them on vaccine mandates. So today on point as we enter a third school year of the covy. Nineteen pandemic have the goalposts shifted yet again on what it will take to get every american child back in school full time. Well we're going to start in los angeles and joining us now. Is sicily my cruise. President of the united teachers los angeles which represents thirty five thousand educators in the los angeles unified school district. Welcome to on point. How are you today. i'm well. I just want listeners. To know that a little later in the show we will also be hearing af t president randi weingarten as well but we really wanted to spend a few minutes. Spoke focusing on the nation's second largest school district here so first of all sicily if if i may can you give us a preview of what a fall of two thousand twenty one is going to be looking like for la students. Yes well after almost two years. The joy of teaching and learning finally comes back to classrooms and school buildings across los angeles county and just like most school years. This one is filled with a natural mix of excitement apprehension and anxiety especially in the wake of the heinous delta burien. I wanna make sure that folks understand and know that here at ucla Our members across los angeles as well as across the country educators. Have these same feelings. Many of us are parents first. Educators second and union members third and. That's how we are approaching this upcoming school year So to be clear. La schools were were remote until april of may or last year to have that right. That's correct okay. So we'll we'll students be going back full-time into the classroom at the start of the okay. That's already on monday starting on monday. Well summer ends far too quickly. Honestly suppose well so but also also this week though in california governor gavin newsom decided to make a statewide mandate for vaccination vaccinations for teachers. And what is the union's response to that. Yes everyone is nervous about this delta barry and the rising infection numbers and children Are ucla la board of directors. We're not opposed to a vaccine mandate you know are are utilized. Policies are set at a at our local level and through those democratic structures It's a tough decision. It's worth pointing out that. The vast majority of our educators than educational school support staff have been vaccinated. And so we know that here. We are at a really Pivotal moment but we do realize with all of the anxiety and the excitement and frustration. We know that students need to be in school full time and so we have to make those spaces of learning as safe as possible. And that's what we're going to create. You said it's a tough decision were you referring to the to the vaccine. The now the statewide vaccine mandate for teachers. And if so why is it a tough decision. Well i i don't personally think it's a tough decision. I i would say that you know people have their own opinions about you. Know how we go about vaccine mandates. I think for the governor. He has come out with this but let let's be clear Ucla has been on the front lines. we worked with our former superintendent. Austin butin her to make sure that every single school was healthy and safe and had all of the protections necessary to get our students back in school Last april in may. So do you. I'm trying to understand does this. Does this mean that you would advocate for leaders of other unions educational unions in the state of california or actually in california. Yes it's no longer choice. Because of this new statewide mandate but so your fellow union members of in other parts of the country to also welcome and embrace a vaccine mandate for teachers. Why i believe that folks around the country. We were the first house that were asking. Or vaccines right Long ago we were saying please. We want to be vaccinated Let educators be back. Sonate it and then there was a whole debt and there's a lot of political folly to happen now. We're at a different point. I think folks across the country especially in looking at the mask mandate There folks across the country saying we don't even have a mask mandate so when we look at here at los angeles we look here at ucla. We know that we put together Health and safety to make sure that that was top of mind so that all of our educational community would be safe So i wonder what you think about the work that lies ahead for teachers and students and families in los angeles because we were taking a look at some analysis of the impact of on children for being out of school for for out of the classroom. I should say for as long as they were. And there was a report released in march twenty twenty one that found that that black and latino elementary students for example in los angeles really suffered by being out of the classroom for so long finding that only forty three percent of black students and forty four percent of latino students stayed on track for early reading skills according to literacy assessments that were being able to be given a last fall. So how much do you think is ahead two to remedy the impact. Covert has had on children's education in los angeles. Well being an educator for more than twenty six years and the conversation around learning loss. I believe it's the wrong frame. Our young people are smart. They're engaging and always learning even in a pandemic while our students were physically out of the classroom for almost two years. It is extremely counter. Intuitive to say they've suffered learning loss while some of our students may not have learned everything described in their grade level curriculum. all of our babies learned. I'm a firm believer in the growth mindset and during.