Arlene Inouye was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended Clover Avenue Elementary, Webster Junior High, and University High School. Her grandparents immigrated from Japan to Boyle Heights, and her family was incarcerated during World War II. Three generations of her family have attended LAUSD schools.
She has a BA and MA in communicative disorders from Long Beach State University. She has been a Spanish bilingual speech and language specialist for 18 years in the East and North areas and has also been an adult education teacher, master teacher and mentor, multicultural and human relations trainer, school reform trainer, and financial manager of a nonprofit organization.
Her experience as a union and community activist includes:
- UTLA House of Representatives member
- CTA State Council delegate
- NEA Representative Assembly delegate
- AFT and CFT Convention delegate
- CFT Education Committee member
- CTA Budget Committee member
- CTA Vendor Committee member
- Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, elected NEA Executive Board Director
- Family School Partnership Program director
- SRLDP parent educator
- Founder and project director of CAMS (Coalition for Alternatives to Militarism in our schools)
- UTLA Treasurer (2011 to present)
As UTLA Treasurer she approves legal and vendor services for UTLA members and has negotiated staff health benefits and served on the District negotiations team for the LAUSD budget. She has also served on the national steering committee of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the National Coalition of Education Activists (NCEA), and the National Network Opposing the Militarism of Youth (NNOMY).