Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Denver Teachers Go On Strike After Pay Discussions Fall Apart

Denver school leaders, teachers negotiate trying to avoid strike After talks break off, Denver teachers set to strike Monday
Deanna Wagner | 12 February, 2019, 14:38

At the time, the school district was a pioneer in performance pay, the first large urban school system to adopt that model. The school invited students to spend part of the morning writing letters and drawing pictures to be delivered to their teachers outside on the picket lines, sharing messages like "we love you and we miss you, and we also understand why you are doing it". Other students joined hundreds of teachers and union members in a march past City Hall that held up traffic in downtown Denver. Wearing winter boots, hats, and mittens, the teachers hoisted signs into the air and chanted at the top of their lungs.

"What else do you want from us, Susana?" he asked.

"We presented an updated proposal that responds to what we heard from our teachers, aligns to our values of equity and retention, honors the ProComp ballot language and significantly increases the base pay for all of our educators", Cordova said in a statement. "We're not asking for a million dollars", he emphasized, "We're asking for an extra $200 to $300 per paycheck so that I can save up, buy a house and live in my community and not jump from house to house". She says she is hopeful the district and teachers union can come to an agreement quickly.

That all but one Skinner teacher joined the strike stands out considering the school district said about 56 percent of Denver teachers did not show up Monday. Some drivers, recognizing an already chaotic atmosphere, burned donuts into the asphalt before peeling out down the street.

"What happens is that teachers often leave in the middle of the year". "One student posted a video of students leaving classes and flooding into the hallways where a spontaneous dance party broke out".

Teachers started the strike Monday.

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Despite the strike, DPS said students should still go to class this week. Kind Love plans to continue the deal as the Denver Classroom Teachers Association union and the DPS resume negotiations on February 12, and will possibly extend it further if the strike continues. Adopted in 2009, the system tied teacher evaluations to test scores and established a pay structure that gives teachers who are rated highly effective up to $25,000 in bonuses.

Denver school officials say more than 2,100 teachers have called in absent as educators went on strike. Administrators, non-teachers union staff like cafeteria workers, seven district central office staff, and nine substitutes were on hand.

Jayden Tolson, a high school junior at Montbello, went into school early Monday morning.

"I feel like it's different than normal", Varvaris said.

The school's executive principal, holding a flute in one hand, stands at the front of another classroom teaching a combined beginning band and concert band class fingering and rhythms. Students are said to have streamed out of the school shortly after, though it's unclear whether or not they were instructed to do so. Classes for 5,000 preschool children have been canceled. When the strike became a real possibility, school officials began recruiting substitutes with a special education background, he said, adding that the lawsuit appears to be "based on speculation" that students will be harmed. Before noon, students were also filmed picketing alongside their teachers in support. The suit, brought on behalf of the students against the school district - on the first day of the strike, argues that without trained teachers and caregivers, the students will be put in jeopardy. "We want something that is right, and we want it for our kids". But in the DPS system that type of stability is increasingly rare.

The union pushed for lower bonuses for high-poverty and high-priority schools to free up more money for overall teacher pay and criticized the district for spending too much money on administration. "We need to incentivize teachers to stay". I've seen people leave the state.