Arnoldo Vargas’ life hasn’t changed much since last January when he joined thousands of Los Angeles teachers in a momentous six-day strike. He drives the same 2006 Camry, has no more than 41 students in his art classes compared to an average of 42 last year, and would love to see his own eighth-grade son and first-grade daughter in smaller classes.
“A lot of the gains, I don’t see them … day-to-day, to be honest,” said Vargas, who teaches at Banning High School in Wilmington.
A year after some 30,000 teachers walked out of their classrooms and upended the daily routine of more than half a million students and their families, most parents and teachers would be hard-pressed to see defining differences in classrooms and schools. Most classes are one student smaller, and the district has been unable to hire the nurses promised for every campus.
The strike helped fuel a nationwide wave of activism and drew attention to what many say is a lack of resources supporting public schools. But there remains much debate about how much — or how little — changed inside classrooms.