More than 1,500 Sacramento teachers were joined Thursday by counterparts from around California in a massive rally outside the south Sacramento headquarters of the Sacramento City Unified School District.
staged a walkout Thursday morning for the first time in 30 years, staging a one-day strike alleging unfair labor practices by the district.
Teachers from various Sacramento schools changed popular song lyrics to “you, teachers, are my sunshine, my only sunshine” and “lean on me” as teachers erupted in cheers.
“This is extraordinary we have to be here 16 months later just to get the district and superintendent to keep their promise,” Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher said.
Fisher mentioned a 2017 agreement between the union and school district brokered by Mayor Darrell Steinberg. His reference to the mayor was met with loud boos from the teachers.
Hope Dennis from Parkway Elementary School took to the stage to sing to hundreds sitting in the parking lot with their picket signs. Dennis moved to Sacramento from Tennessee three years ago and teaches a 4th grade class with 33 students.
“We need to make sure we reach and teach every child every year,” Dennis said. She went from teaching 25 students in her 2nd grade class to 33 students this year in her 4th grade class.
Reducing class sizes has been one of the main rallying cries for teachers as they hold their one-day strike.
“I hope we are an example to students to always fight for what they believe is the right thing to do,” Dennis said.
Several teachers and union members from various districts came to support Sacramento teachers. Members were on hand from the United Teachers of Los Angeles and Oakland Educators, who were on strike in January to ask for raises and smaller class sizes.
“I bring you greetings from 35,000 members from our teachers who stand with you in solidarity,” said Cecily Myart-Cruz with UTLA.
In January, teachers in Los Angeles went on strike for six days to fight for a new contract. They are waiting for the new contract to be implemented.
Several statewide unions expressed support of the Sacramento teachers, including the California Federation of Teachers, the California Faculty Association and the California Nurses Association.
“Look at how many teachers across the US are winning the fight and this is the way to do this,“ said CNA representative Diana McClure.