DCTA Bargaining Team invites DPS to engage in student-based collective bargaining

The following is adapted from a Power-Point presentation that was presented to the DPS Board and leadership at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

The top goal of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association is student success. To reach that goal, we know we need transformational leadership to empower excellent educators and foster shared accountability among all stakeholders. To that end, the DCTA bargaining team has committed itself to engage in this kind of leadership. We invite the DPS team to join us.

If you accept this invitation, you will be joining us in Student-Based Collective Bargaining. This is not exactly the way bargaining is always described. So, what does it mean?

It is the manner in which DPS and DCTA could work together to create the teaching and learning conditions necessary to promote student success, empower excellent educators and engage all stakeholders in shared accountability. Believe us, Denver teachers are ready to be empowered! We had a record return on our bargaining survey; over twelve hundred teachers weighed in on what they believe needs to change in order to improve the direction of Denver Public Schools.

Student success depends on teachers who have the time to prepare for student lessons, evaluate student work, engage in data-informed decision-making and adaptive instruction, collaborate with peers, and build relationships with students and colleagues. So you can see why our bargaining survey shows, yet again, that TIME is a top concern for teachers.

• 80% of teachers responded they are unable to finish their planning and grading within their allotted planning time.
• 72% of teachers responded they do not have adequate time to administer, grade and analyze district- and building-mandated assessments.
• 54% do not have time to use the results of their LEAP evaluation to improve their instruction.

Students succeed when excellent educators are empowered through a meaningful evaluation process. We are in the first stages of our LEAP pilot – a collaborative effort between DCTA and DPS to create an evaluation system that promotes student success. Teachers told us that improving LEAP is a top priority, which necessitates an expansion of this collaboration. We are prepared to help make the tough decisions necessary to ensure all students are taught by an excellent educator!

• 86.4 % want to see LEAP continue as a pilot for a second year in order to make necessary improvements.
• 71 % want to see more “assistance” from their peer observers in addition to “review.”
• 82 % believe peer observers and administrators should jointly determine when a teacher should be placed on remediation.
• 83 % believe non-renewal decision based on teaching performance should be made by a joint panel of teachers and administrators.

We started out this presentation by stating that student success is accomplished by empowering excellent educators and engaging all stakeholders in shared accountability. Our survey results show that while Denver teachers want to be empowered toward this end, they don’t much feel like it right now—so we have some work to do in this area.

• 56 % do not believe that DPS is headed in the right direction.
• 57% disagree with the statement that the climate of their school is good and the morale of the teaching staff is high.
• 74% feel overwhelmed doing their job.
• 61 % do not believe central district administration is approachable and collaborative.
• Only 52% of Denver’s new teachers feel respected and valued.
• Only 29% of Denver’s veteran teachers feel respected and valued.

So what is student-based collective bargaining all about? It’s about student success, educator excellence and shared accountability. We are prepared to do what it takes to make this happen. Please join us!

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