Okay, so it’s pretty hard to be snarky about such a ridiculous scenario, so I’m not going to be. Many Denver students are at school today experiencing a much less than ideal scenario, with their regular teachers out of the classrooms striking. Why are they striking? Money. Yes, this is about money. Teachers are asking for a fair compensation program. If you want to see how the current ProComp compensation program works click here. If you made it through the video without screaming, “what?!” you did better than me. Yes, that’s an actual video put out by DPS talking down to teachers as if they were 2nd graders. And yes, it was approved by “voters” 15 years ago.
Imagine if your compensation plan at your job was decided by the general public. The same general public who has no background in your industry and has never spent a day in your shoes doing your job. Oh, and they did it 15 years ago. Has anything changed in your company or your industry in 15 years? One of the many disturbing things about the video was the “reimbursement” for ongoing education, which is part of how teachers increase their pay. Unless I am missing something, it says the district will reimburse teachers up to $4,000 in a lifetime for continuing education. I assume they also provide them with flux capacitors to travel back in time and go to college in the 19th century when $4,000 would have paid for something. Almost everyone goes through financially stressful times in their lives. Whether it be certain times of the year, making college choices for our kids, going through career transitions, major purchases, medical bills, major repairs, etc. Now, think of how well you are able to focus on your profession during those times, when you are financially stressed. Or, imagine how well you could do your career job if you had to work multiple jobs to survive. By appropriately paying our teachers, we can immediately make them better by removing a little bit of the financial stress they deal with. Another thing I don’t think people are addressing is that teaching is in a teacher’s DNA. It’s not like it was the only job they were qualified for, so they thought, “I guess I’ll just be a teacher.” They were drawn to helping people, specifically, helping our kids. What’s the value of that to you or us as a society? Having highly qualified, caring people, taking care of our kids, nine months a year, eight hours a day? Teaching your kids to read, do math, problem solve, enjoy learning, and on and on. Almost everyone who has kids, views their kids as the most valuable thing(s) in the world. Their teachers are shaping them as people in a positive way. Do we want teaching in Denver to turn in to a job people take to “just have a job?” Finally, DPS states “The mission of the Denver Public Schools is to provide all students the opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills necessary to become contributing citizens in our diverse society.” So, ultimately, it’s about the kids, right? So, let’s do what we can to keep our motivated, great Denver teachers taking care of our kids here in Denver. Support the DCTA, and contact DPS leadership to let them know you want our exceptional, hard-working teachers back in schools doing what they want to be doing: teaching our kids.