Strike

Denver teachers are officially on strike.

Schools are still in session and will continue to serve breakfast and lunch (#ThanksBlackPanthers). At West High School, after the marchers dispersed, I was able to listen to a few students, outside during their lunch break. They said on the inside mostly they’re just watching Netflix on their phones and hanging out. The schools called in extra security, including calling people in from retirement (#ThanksForCaring). They reported that they were told there are consequences for students who strike alongside their teachers, however, they also aren’t taking attendance so there seems to be a confusion around accountability.

The district is incentivizing substitutes with a 150% increase in pay. However, at one of the bargaining sessions, DCTA requested guest teachers avoid working, if they are able.

From the News:

Elizabeth Hernandez from the Denver Post has been covering the strike,  “Educators at Denver’s 160 public schools initiated the city’s first teachers strike in 25 years Monday morning after Gov. Jared Polis declined to intervene in their compensation dispute and 11th-hour contract talks with district leaders fell apart over the weekend.

The strike follows 15 months of negotiations over teacher wages.” (Feb 11)

“DPS leaders — who began recruiting substitutes and preparing lesson plans shortly after the strike vote last month — have told state labor officials that a teacher walkout would cost the district more than $400,000 a day.” (Feb 6)

Read Full Articles Denver Teacher Strike Begins… Elizabeth Hernandez Feb 11, 2019 Denver teacher Strike to being Monday after Gov Jared Polis declines to intervene Elizabeth Hernandez, Feb 6th 2019
It was chaotic: Students at Denver East High School blast music, dance in hallways… Hernandez Feb 11 2019

A month into her term as Superintendent, Susana Cordova has communicated to the district and the public on multiple formats including regular internal emails with updates. Eric Gorski from Chalkbeat recently published an interview with Cordova,

“Q: Saturday night, you brought a new proposal to the table with deeper cuts to district central staff and elimination of executive bonuses, with the money going to increase bonuses for teachers in “highest priority” schools. The union wants to do away with those bonuses and use that money to raise base pay for all teachers. Why make this move, and why did you call it significant?

A: ProComp was initially designed to try to motivate the behavior we need to address the biggest problems in our system. And the biggest problems are closing the opportunity gap and teacher retention in the highest priority schools. So much of what we are doing in our proposal is trying to emphasize equity. At the end of the day, the most important thing we can do with our proposal is reward teachers in their base salaries and in the kinds of jobs we know we need to close the gaps we have. Our proposal, along with the incentives, also pays a significant base pay increase for everyone.

I want to say it over and over and over again that this is an issue of equity. And equity isn’t equal. And I don’t believe it’s in our city’s best interest to take money out of the hands of teachers working in higher poverty places to spread around the city so everyone gets an increase.

“Q: How confident are you in your ability to keep schools open during the strike?

A: We’re going to approach this as thoughtfully as possible. Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our students. If at any point we are concerned about safety, we will make the decision to close a school. That is something we won’t compromise on.”

Read the full interview: Denver Superintendent Susana Cordova on even of Strike: ‘This is an issue of equity’
Eric Gorski, Feb 11, 2019

That’s all for now folks. Thanks for reading and staying informed!
Emily

 

Photography by Seth Nagle

 

 

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