Center for Youth & Community Leadership in Education
Center for Youth & Community Leadership in Education


Teacher Voice and Agency

(Photo:  @magoo_tweets_2u /Twitter)

(Photo: @magoo_tweets_2u/Twitter)

As announced just before the new year, educators in Los Angeles Unified School District are set to strike this Thursday, January 10th (UPDATE: UTLA has moved the potential strike date to Monday, January 14th if no agreement is reached). The impending LA strike is happening on heels of a year in 2018 that saw teachers strike, walkout, and organize widespread protest of the systemic underfunding and devaluing of public education in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Carolina, Colorado, and Arizona. Educators, lawmakers, students, and families will be watching what unfolds in Los Angeles closely as LAUSD is the second largest school district in the country.

Meanwhile, what it means to be an educator and public school advocate is being both held up by bold teacher actions and challenged by lawmakers. Two teachers in Phoenix, AZ, including 2019 Arizona Teacher of Year and the local union president, were recently met with fines and discipline for what their district determined was political advocacy while working. Arizona lawmakers are also gearing up for a new legislative session where proposed laws could further restrict teacher advocacy or even discussion of “controversial issues.”

Last week, CYCLE’s Executive Director, Keith Catone, talked with the NPR member station for the Phoenix, AZ metropolitan area about researching how teachers balance being both public employees and advocates for education. Listen to the interview here.

For more about teacher leadership and advocacy for education policy, read the findings in Agency into Action: Teachers as Leaders and Advocates for Public Education, Communities, and Social Justice.

To keep up to date on what’s happening on Los Angeles, visit the United Teachers of Los Angeles website:

To learn more about how communities and unions are fighting for the schools our children deserve all across the country, check out the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools: