Denver teachers “may return to the classroom,” their union let them know early Thursday morning, after a tentative deal was announced by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and the Denver Public Schools. If it’s ratified, the strike will formally end, and the union, saying that “Denver teachers win for Denver students,” seems confident that teachers will approve it.
The teachers and district management had earlier come to an agreement on a starting salary level of $45,800, but teachers were pushing for structured raises rather than unpredictable bonuses they say hurt teacher retention. In the tentative deal announced Thursday, base salaries will increase by seven to 11 percent, but equally importantly, there will be a “transparent” salary schedule plus “The ability to use professional development units—free in-district courses offered to advance teachers’ education—to move up lanes on the salary schedule.” According to the union, “The tentative agreement, which must be ratified by the full DCTA membership, reforms a pay system which largely relied on unstable bonuses, and provides stability for students who, for the past ten years, have had their education disrupted by a compensation schedule that drove their teachers away from the district.”
Teachers have been in attendance at bargaining sessions, often vocally expressing their approval or disapproval. At the final, decisive session on Wednesday, the Denver Post reports, “As DPS unveiled its latest plan, teachers in the audience—who normally chant protest songs during breaks and occasionally heckle the district during bargaining talks—clapped and snapped their fingers in approval.”
As Denver teachers likely head back to school, teachers in Oakland, California, continue to gear up for a strike. The wave of teacher uprisings isn’t over.