Behind the teachers strikes

February 15, 2019 | The Wall Street Journal

Protest signs hoisted by more than 2,600 Denver teachers would have you think this week’s school strike was “for the kids” or simply about higher wages. But the standoffs in Denver and elsewhere in recent months are also about something else: unions rejecting accountability for student performance.

Monday marked the first time in 25 years that the Denver Public Schools (DPS) faced a strike from its Denver Classroom Teachers Association, a union of 5,700 that teaches 92,000 students. The two sides reached a deal early Thursday morning that offers teachers higher base wages, but the real reason for the strike can be found in a new salary schedule that undercuts pay-for-performance bonuses.

DPS agreed to union salary demands, offering an average base salary increase of 7% to 11% for individual teachers for the 2019 school year, as well as at least cost-of-living increases in teachers’ salaries and incentives for 2020 and 2021. DPS is also boosting the bonus for teachers at priority schools to $3,000 from $2,500.

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