(Postponed) Denver Teacher’s Strike

A brief update:

The last few days of bargaining sessions last week were marked by a tense frustration. It wasn’t clear that a decision could be made without striking as both sides held their ground. While DCTA couldn’t back down from their commitment to address schools’ daily interior needs, the district, including newly seated superintendent Cordova, seemed to be either making this situation into a power-play or maybe they truly have no room to negotiate.

Denver Post reported on Tuesday the 22nd, that night the vote to Strike was passed for the first time in 25 years. “Ninety three percent voted to strike. They’re striking for better pay. They’re striking for our profession. And they’re striking for Denver students.” (Gould, DP)

Even though there is wide support and understanding for the decision it wasn’t an easy one to make, “I was hoping and praying it wouldn’t come to this,” [said] a visual arts teacher at Escalante-Biggs Academy, after casting his vote in favor of the strike on Tuesday. “I’m worried for my kids, and I hope they’re in good hands, but we need to do this for them.” (DP)

The next steps:

“District and union leaders are planning to meet with Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday to discuss next steps. Cordova has said the district will ask Polis to intervene.” (DP)

My perspective:

I’m in this issue is as a DPS Guest Teacher (a substitute, paraprofessional, and potential scab). I had asked DCTA members about our role I want to share a bit of their response.

The strategy, as far as I understand:

Teachers will be on strike, admin are contractually not allowed to strike so they will be operating in the schools (along with City Year, AmeriCorps, and other mentoring/teaching Non-profits). Those of us who also need to be in the schools, or who may not be able to afford to strike, can participate in a sit-in teaching style that helps maintain the safety and meet the needs of students in attendance.

Students at George Washington HS asked me if they were allowed to strike with their teachers. My brief answer, “Yes.” My longer answer is that student support for teachers, staff, and the district is pertinent to this issue! This strike is not just about teachers having their needs met but also for the needs of students. This is the perfect time for student activists to make their needs and desires for their education known.

Speak up and join the civic debate! Raise hell peacefully,

Anne Arkhane

Photography by Seth Nagle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s