Only one in nine students will participate in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) additional learning days this month, a strategy the district has imposed to make up for pandemic-induced learning loss.
The district is offering two accelerated learning days on Dec. 19 and 20 during the upcoming winter break to help students still catching up on learning after the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of this week, about 45,000—or 11 percent of the district’s 422,000 students—signed up for this month’s learning days, an LAUSD spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
The acceleration days’ schedule is similar to a typical school day, according to the district, beginning with breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by small group literacy and math lessons for elementary students and college preparatory instruction and tutoring for those in middle and high school.
After lunch, all students will be instructed in math, science or advanced placement courses.
About 290 schools across the district will be open for the extra instruction days, which will be staffed with 8,000 LAUSD teachers and administrators and another 6,000 staff including bus drivers and custodians, according to officials.
The district will try to match registered students with their school of attendance or a nearby school, officials said.
In April, LAUSD authorized about $123 million in federal pandemic funds – which includes $52 million to pay employees—for the extra days.
The accelerated days were originally to take place on Oct. 19, Dec. 7, March 15, 2023, and April 19, 2023—extending the school year by four days.
That changed, however, when the district’s teachers’ union—United Teachers of LA (UTLA)—called for its members to boycott the extra days in August, saying they were added to the school year without labor negotiation.
As a compromise, LAUSD rescheduled the extra days to take place over the winter and spring breaks.
Union leaders also called the days a “waste of taxpayer dollars” that “prioritizes optics over student needs, saying the $123 million should go into “services and staff roles proven to have a long-term positive impact on student learning and career outcomes,” such as “ensuring every school site has a nurse on staff every day.”
But adding the optional instruction days was the best use of the district’s additional state and federal funding this year, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said during a school board meeting in April.
Because the funding is not permanent, he said, it cannot be used to hire more staff as the union has suggested.
UTLA is currently demanding a 20 percent pay raise over the next two years for LAUSD teachers, citing stress from living costs and COVID-19 pandemic learning loss.
The next acceleration days will take place over spring break on April 3 and 4, 2023.