On Wednesday, February 6, Colorado's Department of Labor and Employment announced that it will not intervene in the dispute between the teachers' union and Denver Public Schools, despite the fact that Governor Jared Polis had been asked to do so.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association and the DPS were back at the negotiating table last night, but the DCTA reports that little progress was made. DCTA members had approved a strike by a 93 percent vote on January 22, the the strike will begin on Monday, February 11 if an agreement is not reached before then.
Readers are torn over the prospect, and over Polis's decision. Says Monica:
They asked him to back off and he did. They want to strike. They are part of his Dem voter base. He did what they wanted.
Looks like the teachers' union got their moneys' worth. What little power this governor has, he's apparently afraid to use.
Clare Hammoor, of South High School, has a different view:
By declaring last Thursday’s bargaining session "political theater at its worst," the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has brought attention to the performative nature of the intractable philosophical disagreements that have animated DCTA members. Despite its pejorative dismissal of social practice, the CDLE challenged DCTA members to imagine political theater at its best — as a medium for teachers, union leaders, parents and community members to perform the world we have been dreaming for an audience of our young people. It is a world that imagines equitable, understandable and predictable pay for educators within a system that supports and values its most vulnerable students. It is a world that demands access for educators without considering immigration status. It is a world that bargains for the best we can offer our students rather than bureaucrats. It is a world of words and actions in performance that matter because our audience is bigger than ourselves, it includes the people we are here to collaborate with and serve, our students. The power of a strike today will impact the way our students realize activism in action. I urge Governor Polis to strongly support DCTA’s strike as a right of collective activism and an inspiring action for our young people. Collectively transforming the problems and possibilities of today into exhilarating, equitable and just tomorrows is the potential of political theater.
DPS needs to stand up!
We spend an average of $12,000 a year per student; private tuition at a private school is $5,000. We are top-heavy on administration. That is the problem.
Fight back against the union. Remind the teachers they make $35 an hour. If they strike, do not support them. This is their choice.
The union is fighting over $6.5 million in three years for the entire district. Like a nickel an hour.
We could just treat teachers decently and not force them to strike.
And if the teachers do go on strike, Tim concludes:
I guess kids will have to learn everything from video games and free internet porn now.
Keep reading for more stories about the teachers' strike.
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Following the announcement by the labor department's executive director, Joe Barela, that the state would not intervene in the issue, Polis expressed his support for the decision and said that he believes the union and the district, the party that asked for state intervention, are separated only by minor differences.
"The parties are very close to reaching an agreement. ... I’ve also received assurances from both sides that negotiations will commence either tomorrow or Friday," Polis said at a press conference announcing the decision. But Friday's negotiations did not look promising.
If the two sides are unable to come to an agreement between now and February 11, and teachers go on strike for the first time since 1994, the district will attempt to keep schools open with the use of substitute teachers. But as Polis pointed out, keeping schools open during a strike would cost the district over $400,000 per day.
Do you think teachers should strike? Readers seem as divided on this issue as are the DPS and the DCTA. Let us know in a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.