Bargaining sessions between Denver Classroom Teachers Association and the Denver Public School District began this week at the Acoma Campus and will continue next week.
From 9am, around 20 people listened in to the wintry mix of convivial intensity at the negotiation table. By 4pm the room had filled out with teachers, parents, and students. The aire was professional but emotional.
Those who are seated at the table express concerns over budget models reflecting the compensation lanes for SSPs and teachers. Both parties are civilly working towards equitable solutions that build trust between parties, which has been broken since after the last strike in 1994.
District leadership continues to listen to concerns and counter with proposals. Their approach shows their determination to find a way to compromise without a strike–including a request to extend the January 18th deadline to Jan 31st. Despite cooperative tones, the union representatives are holding their ground and continue to flesh out the pertinent Whys and Hows that color the conversations.
For more information:
Attend a bargaining session on the 15th, 17th, 18th–Whether you support teachers, students, unions or the district, be present!
See photos below for details.
I hope this info has been interesting to you. Thanks for reading about and supporting education reform.
Raise hell peacefully,
P.S. As for my opinion–which will reflect my lack of expertise on these events– It seems evident that these conversations are necessary and will be fruitful in ways that are yet to be determined. Overall, what I notice is that these concerns–about the budget, resources, and compensation to balance increasingly crippling student debt with progress–are issues that need to be addressed at a state and national level, as well as here, as they are plaguing not only Colorado but many state’s school districts (see also: California, Oklahoma, and Georgia), and plaguing Education at all levels. Ultimately, this group alone cannot answer the question at the core of their discussion: “What is, and how do we promote and preserve, the value of education [in N. America]?”
My observations on bargaining, in general, are that communicators must show a particular balance of bendable firmness. The goal is not an either/or result, it’s not zero-sum, the goal is to build trust and to reach an equitable compromise that uplifts the dignity of all parties. There have been moments from both sides where comments were perceived as disrespectful or embracing a rude tone. A terse steadfastness is a part of the game, however, both sides seem to understand that you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.
If I could, I would like to give stickers expressing my deeply felt ‘Thank you!’ and ‘Great job!’ to the Union members, DPS leadership, supporters and staff who have made these events possible and a special ‘You’re Stellar’ sticker to the Acoma Campus for hosting these sessions. [Teachers: Let me guess, you’ve been mentally noting where all my punctuation, grammar, or spelling is, shall I say, ‘lacking in perfection’…Thanks! Feel free to write corrections into the comments section.]
website Photography by Seth Nagle
In text photography by me