Longform

Teachers fight back against Denver Public Schools in court

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Rerucha kept looking for jobs and had a great interview at an elementary school. The school called her references and even had her write a mock letter to parents introducing herself. "They sent me a lovely e-mail right back immediately: 'This is great! This is just what we were looking for. You'll hear from us soon,'" Rerucha says. "And that, in fact, was the last thing that I heard from them."

In August 2013, after 36 years of teaching, Rerucha was put on unpaid leave. The sixty-year-old is now concentrating on starting her own business: Milk and Cookies Tutoring. "It was hard to think that they were going to decide when the end of my career was, not me," she says. "I still had a lot of years left in me to give to the kids of Denver.

"If this is what they're doing as a matter of course — getting rid of experienced people — that's really sad for the kids. While you need young, new teachers to keep it all going and they're so full of excitement, they don't know beans."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar