Will Polis Let ‘Em Strike?

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Colorado Public Radio’s Jenny Brundin reports as the standoff between the Denver Public Schools management and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) grinds on with no sign of rapprochement between the sides:

Gov. Jared Polis is making one last attempt to meet with both sides in Denver’s contentious teacher labor dispute and broker an agreement before the state decides whether it will intervene…

Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment will decide whether or not to step in by Feb. 11. In the meantime the strike teachers voted for is on hold. If the state decides to intervene, it could postpone a strike for up to 180 days.

In a letter, the agency said a lack of meaningful dialogue, a fundamental disagreement over the facts and costs of competing proposals, and the reopening of negotiations last week that turned into “political theater at its worst,” all weigh heavily on the state’s decision.

In response, the teacher’s union insisted the state not get involved.

With negotiations between DPS management and the DCTA effectively stalled and teachers itching to get out on the picket line, there is undeniable pushback building over Gov. Jared Polis’ attempt to informally broker a compromise. The real deadline now is the one observed by the Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), who will soon decide whether or not to order a six-month “cooling off period”–a decision that would buoy management’s negotiating position but greatly increase tensions between the teachers and the governor’s office.

As we said last week, all parties are watching closely to see how Gov. Polis navigates this situation, the first real political controversy of his brand-new administration. Polis campaigned with the strong support of organized labor in this state, but also has been a supporter of the sometimes-divisive education “reform” agenda that underlies the dispute between teachers and Denver Public Schools officials.

The only thing we can say for sure is that kids won’t get to play hooky either way.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    Jared will not let them.  They should anyway, or what does labor mean anymore?

    Edit: I was 100% wrong.

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    Maybe?  Who knows?  It won’t be until after the regular school session ends, however . . . 

    . . . the Governor is, after all, still a politician.



    PS — The biggest losers in any teachers’ strike are always, always, always the students. 

    • PodestaEmails says:

      Democrats fuck the children. They don't care about them.

    • Pseudonymous says:

      PS — The biggest losers in any teachers’ strike are always, always, always the students.

      It's strange that the districts force them to it, then.  Except, I don't think what you wrote is true.  It is a classic method of deligitimizing teacher labor efforts, though.  Strikes are about leverage.  Leverage exists when school is in, not out.  Labor strikes are one of the primary ways workers have made advances in this society, and they've paid for those advances in blood.

      Here's what the LA teachers got for their strike.  We honestly have different ideas about when students are "winning."

      • LAUSD relinquishes power to unilaterally raise class sizes to save money
      • Class sizes will gradually decrease over three years by at least one student per year
      • Early childhood teachers now get a lunch break
      • 30 school pilot of community schools, which offer wraparound services like healthcare and after school activities
      • A relaxation of random searches requested by student organizers, with an eye to ending the practice
      • 300 more nurses through 2021, 77 more middle- and high school counselors, 78 more librarians
      • Oh, and a 6 percent raise for teachers — 3 percent retroactive, 3 percent ongoing
      • Diogenesdemar says:

        No, we don’t have that much of a different idea.  I support unions, I support teachers, and I support their right to strike.

        But, it does also impact the students.

        I just don’t think striking is all that great an idea in this arena, and I hope that negotiations do result in that as a final resort.

        It probably also leads more parents to consider their options, charters and private schools; public education as a whole, the teachers, the union, and the administration all suffer as a result. 

        • Pseudonymous says:

          We have explicitly different ideas.  You said that teacher labor actions always (x3) result in students losing.  I said they result in students winning.  Those ideas are fundamentally in opposition.

          Also, you said:

          It probably also leads more parents to consider their options, charters and private schools; public education as a whole, the teachers, the union, and the administration all suffer as a result.

          I also disagree with this. The forces driving folks to charters and private schools don't have anything to do with teacher labor actions.  It has to do with disinvestment from public schools and big money pushing charters as the alternatives to "failing schools."  Who wouldn't send their kid to a bright, shiny-new place promising a world of opportunity?

          In fact, the LA teachers were, in part, striking over a pro-charter board that was elected with $10 million in money from charter advocates, explicitly with the purpose of increasing the charter school share of the districts' students.  As part of the settlement of the strike, the teachers won a moratorium on new charter schools, while a study on how charter schools affect traditional public schools is completed.

      • Meiner49er says:

        +100 Pseudo! If we really cared about the kids we'd make sure the people caring for them–those who care for the outcomes you list above–were cared for in the first place.

  3. Smoking Mirror says:

    Can't say that I am looking forward to a strike, but in the event, my kiddoes will spend at least part of a day on the picket line.  I consider it an educational event.

  4. mamajama55 says:

    If Polis does manage to postpone the strike so that it comes in the middle of summer vacation ,  nobody except a few families with kids in year round schools or taking summer classes to graduate will care.

    But teachers have long memories. I'd watch for a primary his second term.

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