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Archive for District issues

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? Read More→

At tonight’s school board meeting, DCTA Executive Director Carolyn Crowder gave the following speech to the DPS Board of Education.

Student-Based Reform or Sound-Byte Reform?
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association’s top goal is student success.

We understand that in order to increase student success, we must be willing to embrace change. But we don’t want to embrace change for change’s sake. In other words, we want Student-Based Reform– not Sound-Byte Reform.
Student-based reform pays attention to research, builds on the success of others, and avoids the mistakes of those who have not succeeded. Student-based reform does not waste precious resources on projects that do not have a clear plan for evaluation or sustainability.

On the other hand, sound-byte reform is about putting the latest idea into the school district’s résumé and issuing a press release about it. Now, I’m not saying providing DPS with a new sound byte is what was intended in this case, or that anyone involved in the DPS Extended Learning project doesn’t have the students’ interests at heart. But DCTA is concerned that, unless some process changes are made, this project could become just another sound byte. Read More→

Was Mr. Coors Right?

About 15 years ago, during my first year as president of the Oklahoma Education Association, I was invited to an NEA state president’s meeting in Denver, Colorado. The CEA president at the time, Beverly Ausphal, hosted the meeting. One of the topics of the meeting was “Learning to Find Common Ground with Business Leaders on Education Issues”. Beverly had invited Mr. Bill Coors, of Coors Brewing Company, to speak to us.

We talked to Mr. Coors about his philanthropic gifts to both public and private schools – and asked why he gave to both entities. He said that he felt it important to assist in the education of as many students as possible. Then someone asked him what he saw as the difference between public and private schools. He said, “Public schools tend to have better qualified teachers who – for the most part – do a better job than private school teachers. But – I understand why parents who can afford it, choose private schools. Private schools can maintain a better class size ratio between teacher and student – and private schools can kick the kids out that disrupt the learning of everyone else.” Read More→

A version of this piece was sent to DCTA members last week.

DCTA filed the ELO grievance because we believe DPS is mandating several schools to expand their day without a fair process or fair compensation – and is doing so without bargaining the issue as directed by our contract.   Article 8-2-2 of the Master Agreement between DCTA and DPS is clear:  “The District’s scheduled student school contact day will not be extended without applying the due process of collective bargaining.”  The grievance also lists other contract provisions that we believe are being violated as the District refuses to bargain the issue.

Since filing this grievance at the beginning of February, DCTA representatives have tried in every way possible to settle this grievance before going to Level III of the grievance process.  Level III, which involves a hearing with an outside arbitrator, can be a time-consuming course of action.  “Soon after filing the grievance, the superintendent indicated he was willing to work with us on the major elements we identified that could have resolved the concerns surrounding the ELO process.  Knowing that arbitration can be an extensive process, we decided to give settlement talks a chance,” says Henry Roman, DCTA president,  “We are disappointed that, after meeting with District representatives for several lengthy conversations, they finally let us know this week that they are not going to consider meeting any of our identified issues.  In essence, they have not moved from the positions they had when we first filed the grievance.” Read More→