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Editorial: Denver teachers union blocking reform again?

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We have little doubt that 2008 legislation detailing how Colorado schools could gain autonomy and create innovative programs was meant to cover new schools.

Yet, that’s what the Denver teachers union seems to be arguing, as it has objected to so-called innovation status for three new public schools in northeast Denver.

The irony is that the union didn’t have these concerns about new schools gaining similar status when their proposals to be freed of rules were up for approval on two previous occasions. The hypocrisy is not only unattractive, it also undermines their argument.

The issue arose last week as Denver Public Schools asked the State Board of Education for permission to opt out of certain state statutes and regulations for three schools.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association opposed innovation status for Noel Arts School, Denver Center for International Studies at Ford, and Denver Center for International Studies at Montbello.

The 2008 legislation was intended to allow innovation schools to have

Read more: Editorial: Denver teachers union blocking reform again? – The Denver Post

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  • comment avatar Mike Kiley May 17, 2011

    Public sector unions have a fitting and necessary place in our economy. The tail does not wag the dog (except when Bush tells us we need to go to war). These comments reveal zero actual knowledge of how public sector unions work.

    In employment at will, when someone with the ability to do so dislikes your face, your clothes, your opinions or any of the protected class attributes you may have, they fire you. And claim “business reasons”. You have to prove what happened in the black box was improper, if you have that option.

    Under employment at will, not just “Lazy, inept employees” go out; whoever the employer feels like firing goes out. And nothing guarantees that lazy, inept employees aren’t retained. There is no perfect, hidden hand guinding private sector at-will employement relations; rather, much the opposite.

    What you don’t know about public sector unions that is relevant is this. (While I have no dog in any hunt in this area, I do have what has been for many years a very clear view of a very large public sector union.)

    What you wouldn’t know is that Lazy, inept employees are removed regularly. Collective bargaining (unions to you) are governed by written collective bargaining agreements that are arrived jointly through negotiations. The difference between all unions and at-will employment is that these agreements define due process for removals. Good employees don’t get tossed for their opinions; bad employees are removed through due process. No employees are subtly intimidated by employers whose primative view of of human nature is that ‘nothing improves productivity like a long line at the hiring office’.

  • comment avatar MichaelM May 17, 2011

    Collective bargaining has no place in public service. In fact, civil service protections are also unnecessary. We need to treat employment in the public sector exactly like employment in the private sector. Lazy, inept employees out; energetic, productive employees in.

  • comment avatar Dan B May 17, 2011

    An interesting situation over all…like..why are they opening three liberal arts schools to start with? If they are going to open specialty schools I’d rather see science, math, and engineering related course work. Lots of students are good at reading books and writing papers, we need to encourage them in other areas. Maybe some vocational / trade type schools. Lots of kids that aren’t into academics could benefit from leaning something useful.

    As for the unions, lots strange reactions happen when you do strange things. The waiver thing is an end run by the school system. Its basically saying that instead of hiring teachers and taking a vote, we’ll tell teachers they have to vote this way if they want the job. That’s going to create a reaction in principle ever time.

  • comment avatar Steve M May 17, 2011

    I’ve worked for big corporations, I’ve owned my own business, and the last seven years of my career I worked as a middle school and high school teacher. I’ve never worked as hard in my life as I did as a teacher. You feel so responsible for the kids and what you want them to learn. But you also work as a parent, a counsellor, therapist, and mentor. Teachers earn every penny they make believe me it’s not a 8 to 5 job. Lesson plans, grading papers, talking with parents and on and on. Unless you’ve spent time in a class room don’t judge. Our schools should be palaces to the rest of the world, and the teachers should be revered.

  • comment avatar Clay CZ May 17, 2011

    Unions represent union members–teachers.

    Who will represent the students ?

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