The state's largest teachers union Wednesday fired an early salvo in contract negotiations, serving notice that it wouldn't accept pay cuts easily and that it won't consider linking teacher evaluations to student test scores in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The afternoon news conference, at union headquarters in Koreatown, was a familiar exercise in rallying the rank and file. But it also marked a renewed effort to lead the public debate over school reform, coming shortly after L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa labeled United Teachers Los Angeles the primary obstacle to improving schools.
The union "today is setting the record straight," said vice president Julie Washington, who heads the union's negotiating team and is running for president. "We are not the villains of education. We are the solution. We are dedicated and care about the children and the community. … We are going on the record pushing back."