Calling on LAUSD to Support Educator Parents

Austin Beutner, Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District

Update 4/7/21: (This petition will stay open to collect signatures and connect folks needing support until the issue is fully resolved.)

Hello community,

If anything, the number of emails I've received needing advice, guidance, answers, or support doubled after Superintendent Austin Beutner's announcement about the $500 childcare stipend. The stipend and community partnerships help me and my family, and they help people in my situation, but they do not help everyone, and I want us all to know that I see and hear those of us for whom this is not a solution. We never asked for money; that was not our demand. Throwing money at the problem does not make the problem go away.


During the last month, not a single person from LAUSD (beyond my school site) has reached out to work with me/us on a solution. When we act as saviors, we act as oppressors, and we inevitably create more problems than we solve. One of the primary causes for this issue was the lack of representation of parent educators at the decision-making table, and this has not changed in the past month. Our work must continue.

This Friday, I'll be hosting a meeting with 3 goals: 1) strengthening our community so we all have more relationships, resources, and capacity to move forward together, 2) providing informal and unofficial advice on strategies to use in the immediate future, and 3) identifying leaders among us who can carry this fight through the summer to the fall.

The meeting is Friday, 4/9, from 4-6 pm. If childcare is a barrier to attendance or participation, please let me know ASAP. You should also register even if you cannot attend, as I will send out the slideshow and notes from our meeting after the event. RSVP information has been sent to supporters of the petition.

Original petition:

LAUSD recently announced plans to reopen campuses under a hybrid program. This program would require teachers to be on campus, working with cohorts or supervising a group of advisory students while simultaneously teaching online classes. While LAUSD has included choice for parents in this model, they forgot an important group of parents -- their own educators.

Childcare facilities have always been in short supply, with the pandemic exacerbating these limited spaces. Like many others during this crisis, parent educators have juggled parenting responsibilities with full-time work from home, but the current LAUSD hybrid model asks us to choose -- our children or our job.

We call on LAUSD to stand behind a commitment to get through this crisis together by offering parents and care-giving educators the same choice they are offering families at large - the opportunity to continue caring for our loved ones - without leaving our jobs as the current model requires. Accommodations for working parents and care-givers are essential to ensuring that LAUSD retains employees.

Working from home is a privilege, but decades of inadequate funding, outdated and cramped campuses, and a preexisting staffing shortage are catching up to us at this moment. While we recognize the tremendous efforts of our district and various labor groups to prioritize health and safety in this plan, we are also facing a crisis of labor, as parents, particularly women of color, leave the workforce in unprecedented numbers. We ask that LAUSD step up to a moral and ethical obligation to support parents, including their own employees.

Update -- HUGE thank you to folks who have signed! I want to encourage us to keep signing and sharing - anyone can sign in support.

A few clarifications:

  • Yes, we know healthcare and essential workers have faced these challenges all year. However, a competition to the bottom is not in any of our best interests. We do not want anything we don't believe everyone is entitled to - employer support for children and families. It is further important that educators (of whom there are over 30,000 in LAUSD alone) not flood daycares operating at limited capacity for the remainder of the year. These spaces can and should be prioritized for those who absolutely cannot work from home. Education is more than the supervision and storage of children, and when credentialed and qualified educators leave the workforce, we all suffer.
  • People are asking about a specific demand. Personally (as an individual in this situation) I believe waivers to allow educators with care-taking duties to continue to reach remotely makes the most sense to close out the school year. I am further asking that childcare for all LAUSD families be a priority in the fall; this petition has surfaced recognition that this is a widespread societal need, and models for sustainable support for families would go a long way. This should be a conversation with parent educators represented, a voice typically not present in decision-making spaces because the same challenges of balancing a career and childcare also make it challenging to complete surveys, show up to evening meetings, and do organizing work. We ask that these plans and decisions be made accessible beyond what is currently the norm.
  • The district has indicated that "childcare will be available" through their Beyond-the-Bell Program. However, this is only for children attending LAUSD schools. Children below the age of 5, with special needs or medical risks, or attending other school districts are not eligible. Furthermore, the hours and locations of the program do not align with the educator schedules LAUSD has included in their reopening plans. Lastly, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which gave eligible employees the option to take leave for childcare duties, expired in December 2020. While the LA County Department of Public Health Reopening Protocols state that work processes should be reconfigured to increase opportunities for employees to work from home, LAUSD has not included this option in their hybrid plan (7). We are petitioning because we are desperate; no one should be asked to take involuntary risks with the health, safety, and well-being of their children.

Updated action steps:

  1. Write to board members and Superintendent Austin Beutner.
    1. Tanya.Franklin@lausd.net,
      george.mckenna@lausd.net,
      monica.garcia@lausd.net,
      scott.schmerelson@lausd.net,
      nick.melvoin@lausd.net,
      Jackie.Goldberg@lausd.net,
      kelly.gonez@lausd.net
      austin.beutner@lausd.net
    2. Here is a template to send to board members:

      To ____________, I am writing today to ask you to support parent and care-giving LAUSD employees as school campuses reopen. I am part of a petition that has gathered several thousand signatures in the last week, and is addressing the needs of our educator workforce to raise healthy families while employed by LAUSD. While this is a societal and systemic issue, we are counting on LAUSD to be a leader in modeling employee support and retention during a crisis. Thank you, Your name
  2. Engage colleagues at your worksite. Regardless of your workplace or industry, someone in your workplace has struggled with balancing work and raising a family. Tapping into this need on a broader scale ensures that solutions become part of state and national policy, not just temporary fixes for one situation.
    1. Dear colleagues,
      I have recently signed a petition in support of parents and care-giving employees for Los Angeles Unified School District. Educators are being pushed back into worksites without adequate accommodations or supports to keep their families safe, and I want to encourage us to take a minute to sign in solidarity. While this may not feel directly related to our workplace, the challenges of balancing work and raising families are widely and deeply felt, and I want to challenge us to think about how we are supporting one another through this crisis. Thank you, Your name
  3. For parent/care-giving educators in this situation, we encourage you to contact HR at (213) 241-5100, and ask: What support is available for my situation? This presses our employer to provide us with clarity and answers so we can make the best choices for our families.
Petition by
Maya Suzuki Daniels
San Pedro, California

To: Austin Beutner, Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District
From: [Your Name]

As parents and employees, we are calling on your to deliver on your promises to support our community through the crisis brought by COVID-19.

LAUSD recently announced plans to reopen campuses under a hybrid program. This program would require teachers to be on campus, working with cohorts or supervising a group of advisory students while simultaneously teaching online classes. While LAUSD has included choice for parents in this model, they forgot an important group of parents -- their own educators.

Childcare facilities have always been in short supply, with the pandemic exacerbating these limited spaces. Like many others during this crisis, parent educators have juggled parenting responsibilities with full-time work from home, but the current LAUSD hybrid model asks us to choose -- our children or our job.

We call on LAUSD to stand behind a commitment to get through this crisis together by offering parents and care-giving educators the same choice they are offering families at large - the opportunity to continue caring for our loved ones - without leaving our jobs as the current model requires. Accommodations for working parents and care-givers are essential to ensuring that LAUSD retains employees.

Working from home is a privilege, but decades of inadequate funding, outdated and cramped campuses, and a preexisting staffing shortage are catching up to us at this moment. While we recognize the tremendous efforts of our district and various labor groups to prioritize health and safety in this plan, we are also facing a crisis of labor, as parents, particularly women of color, leave the workforce in unprecedented numbers. We ask that LAUSD step up to a moral and ethical obligation to support parents, including their own employees.

Thank you.