Denver teachers go on strike after failing to reach pay deal

12 Février, 2019, 03:44 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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According to district data, that is about half the teachers employed in Denver public schools.

And that's what's at stake at the start of the 2019 Denver teachers' strike.

A crush of rowdy students turned the hallways of a Denver high school into a dance party on Monday - as teachers in the city went on strike for the first time in 25 years.

Teachers started the strike Monday. Denver Public School (DPS) spokeswoman Anna Alejo said many students "chose to walk out" and school leaders did not encourage students to leave, The Post reported.

The school district said schools will remain open during the strike and will be staffed by administrators and substitute teachers.

"By us doing this we finally became united", he said, marching with fellow teachers, members of other unions and students.

However, Polis said the state could decide to intervene - and suspend the strike for up to 180 days - if a walkout dragged on.

Denver charter school educators aren't part of the union, so they won't receive any raise as a result of the walkout, and neither will they get the sort of support that striking teachers will receive from the DCTA if they refuse to work in solidarity with strikers.

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The Denver teachers strike follows a year of educator activism that swept the nation, drawing teachers out of the classroom from West Virginia to Los Angeles, where teachers were on strike for a week to rally for more classroom resources. For one, Denver's union is negotiating only over how teachers are paid, and negotiations have narrowed the scope of the disagreements significantly already. The city is notoriously expensive, but the state-long a stronghold of Democratic Party politics-is presently 39th in per-pupil spending with teachers' pay ranked 50th in the country compared to other college-educated workers, with median salary at $52,480.

In the final hours of negotiation on Saturday, the district further angered teachers by doubling-down on such bonuses, many of which are tied to standardized test scores, and ignoring the issue of base pay.

Some teachers argue that spending money on smaller class sizes and adding support staff, like counselors, is the best way to help disadvantaged students learn and make them good schools for teachers to work in. "And teachers say that makes it really hard to plan or even pay rent".

Both sides agree that the pay system needs to be simplified. It released a statement after the Saturday meeting saying the district proposal lacks transparency and "pushes for failed incentives for some over meaningful base salary for all".

Susana Cordova said she saw a range of effects at schools when teachers went on strike Monday. Over the past 15 months, teachers across the city's 160 schools have been demanding better pay but failed to reach an agreement with Gov. Jared Polis.

Sean Bowers, a Denver high school physical education teacher, speaking to CNN, said that with a base salary of $42,000 he has to drive for Lyft, coach sports, run a ninth-grade academy and write curriculum for extra money. That walkout ended when teachers received a 6 percent raise and promises of smaller class sizes and the addition of more nurses and counselors.

- Another $2 million investment in base pay for teachers and specialized staff members that would "come from additional, painful cuts to our central departments, which we estimate to be an elimination of about 150 positions in the central office".

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