Denver teachers go on strike for the first time in 25 years – ThinkProgress

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Hundreds of lecturers from Denver Public Faculties gathered on the state Capitol Monday to kick off their first strike in 25 years, demanding pay will increase and a long-term resolution to the state’s ongoing downside of underfunding faculties.

The strike, which is led by the Denver Classroom Lecturers Affiliation (DCTA), will have an effect on greater than 200 faculties within the district. Directors plan to maintain faculties open by hiring substitute lecturers, although pre-school lessons have been cancelled. Relying on how lengthy the strike goes on, college officers have acknowledged that they could have to shut some faculties if they’re unable to rent sufficient substitutes.

Educators voted to strike final month after disagreements with college directors over pay. As ThinkProgress beforehand reported, the foremost dispute is over a merit-based compensation system referred to as “ProComp,” which started in 2005. It provides lecturers one-time incentives past their base salaries as a reward for working in hard-to-staff positions or to show in faculties the place college students carry out effectively on state checks.

The union, nevertheless, has pushed for a extra conventional strategy to wage construction, calling for a system that enables all lecturers to get raises and cost-of-living will increase. Throughout negotiations, the district was $eight million wanting what the union requested for to overtake the compensation system. Lecturers, in the meantime, argued that the district might scale back directors’ bonuses and take cash out of its reserve to pay for it.

At a press convention Monday, DCTA’s lead negotiator Rob Gould stated he hopes college directors “come to the desk tomorrow able to pay attention so we will get again to work trigger our lecturers need to be within the lecture rooms with their youngsters.”

Whereas educators had been on strike, college students at East Excessive College in Denver took to the halls Monday morning in a present of help for his or her lecturers. Video shared on Twitter confirmed college students chanting, “Pay our lecturers!”

Colorado is among the worst offenders relating to public college funding. In accordance with Schooling Week’s 2018 state-by-state evaluation of public schooling, the state earned a D-plus for general college finance. Colorado obtained an F for its spending on public schooling.

A key purpose for that is that Colorado legislators can scale back college funding so as to stability the funds, utilizing a software referred to as “destructive issue.” Over time, lawmakers have trimmed billions of in funding to rural faculties, faculties serving at-risk college students, and people serving populations with a excessive value of dwelling. Because the Coloradoan reported in 2017, Colorado spends a median of $9,471 on every public college pupil, $2,685 lower than the nationwide common.

Denver is the most recent metropolis the place lecturers have gone on strike to demand higher pay and funding for faculties. Final yr, weeks-long strikes in crimson states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona led to pay will increase and more cash. Los Angeles lecturers just lately ended a weeklong strike, after attaining a number of of their calls for, together with a 50 p.c discount in standardized testing and smaller class sizes.

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