Denver Teachers Strike Enters Day 3; Some Progress Reported

Kids on an Aurora Public School bus wave and shout support to DPS teachers on strike and their supporters at a large rally in Civic Center Park on Feb. 12 in Denver. (Partial photo from Denver Post website.)

The Denver Public Schools teacher strike that began this week continued, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. UPI reported that, “Although no deal was reached, both sides said they saw a path to ending the stalemate.



The Denver Post said that, “negotiators spent more than 12 hours in a marathon bargaining session Tuesday that seemed to show progress toward crafting a new compensation deal for the city’s educators.

Negotiators returned to a warm reception on Feb. 12, ready for more discussions. (Photo by Eliza Eaton-Stern @ElizaEatonStern.)
Teachers in Denver braved the cold to picket outside public schools. (Screen shot from Channel 9 News online coverage.)
Cancelled classes during the teacher strike that began Monday, Feb. 11 in Denver, forced parents of students to find child car3 at the last second. (Screen picture from channel 9 news.)
The cold weather didn’t deter teachers from walking picket lines. (Screen shot from Channel 9 News coverage.)
There were plenty of teachers walking the picket lines on Feb. 11, 2019 in Denver, the first day of the first public teachers strike in 25 years. (Screen capture from Channel 9 News online coverage.)

Elsewhere, teachers in Oakland, California, authorized a strike, if there is no contract agreement reached by this Friday, news reports said.

The Denver strike began on Monday. The following day, the Denver Public Schools website noted, “All DPS Schools to Remain Open on Tuesday; Contract Negotiations to Resume at 10 a.m,” and, “All DPS schools are open and operating on normal schedules. All district-run ECE classes will be canceled for the duration of the teacher strike. Learn more at teacherstrike.dpsk12.org.”

“Early Monday, about 2,000 teachers didn’t report for work,” reported UPI. “Officials said all schools would remain open, with substitute teachers stepping in. Staff shortages, though, forced the cancellation of early childhood education classes.”

The strike could affect “more than 71,000 students at 147 schools. The district’s preschool program will be shut down completely during the strike as there are no district staff to take care of them,” noted UPI. However, the Denver Public Schools Twitter page states it has “more than 90,000 students.”

Christina Zdanowicz at CNN wrote on Feb. 11 that the Denver strike was not just about their salaries, but, “also about the uncertainty of living paycheck to paycheck. It’s about the necessity of taking on a second or third job. It’s about the untenability of carrying on this way much longer.”

The Denver Post said that, “Negotiators from Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association returned to the bargaining table Tuesday morning following the first day of a teachers strike that saw more than 2,600 educators walk out of their classrooms in the name of fair wages. … The district presented a new proposal Tuesday morning that included tweaks to how so-called Professional Development Units—free, in-district courses offered to advance teachers’ education—are linked to pay.”

The district is offering to add $2 million more in “teacher base pay in the upcoming school year and committed more money toward bumping up incentives for educators working in high-poverty schools from a $2,500 annual bonus to $3,000. By the 2021 school year, the plan would commit $3 million more toward educators’ base pay, according to DPS chief financial officer Mark Ferrandino.”

The Wikipedia page about DPS states that, “DPS operates 207 schools, including traditional, magnet, charter and pathways schools, with a current total enrollment of about 92,331 students. Of those, 56 percent of the school districts enrollment is Hispanic, 23 percent is Caucasian, 13 percent is African-American, 3 percent is Asian, 4 percent is more other, and 1 percent is American Indian. 140 languages are spoken, and 37 percent are English language learners. 11 percent of students have special needs. The poverty rate is 70 percent.”