Teachers in Denver are protesting their salaries. Before the strike, the pay of teachers was low, so administrators took initiative to implement a performance based pay system. This system would give bonuses to teachers who had high levels of performance with their students. The teachers’ oppose this system for simple reasons. They claim that it doesn’t help enough of teachers, and it is too unreliable to trust.
In order to make a change, these teachers decided to take a stand. Meeting with the Denver Public Schools district, union teachers tried to negotiate for better terms. However, both sides failed to come to an agreement.
In response, the teachers took their opinions and grievances to the streets. They marched outside of their schools, demanding better pay. These teachers are using their voices to get what they believe they deserve. Even after multiple failed negotiations, they continue in hope to raise their pay so they can afford Denver’s high cost of living.
Denver teachers are simply following the trend that other states have been setting. Last year, eight different states had teachers go on strike for their pay, including Arizona, West Virginia and North Carolina. Just this past January, Los Angeles went on strike for eight days.
Drastic measures are sometimes needed to get results. After Arizona’s statewide strike last year, a 20% raise was promised before the school year in 2020. In West Virginia, teachers received a 5% raise. Los Angeles was promised more than money as well. Along with a 6% pay raise, they were guaranteed smaller class sizes and an increase in support staff.
It isn’t out of the question that this could also happen here in Wilson county. The average salary in Tennessee is slightly lower than Colorado’s, but then the cost of living in Colorado is also much higher than in Tennessee. However, along with Denver, Wilson county utilizes a performance based pay system. Teachers here can also get bonuses based on the test scores of their students, which is a constantly disagreed upon.
Teachers all over Denver feel this system is unfair, and they will do everything in their power to change it. With their march, they are setting an example for teachers across the country. The question is: Who else is going to follow?