Denver teachers get raises

The Denver Post reported on June 15 that Denver Public Schools officials say teachers and other school workers “are getting an average 2.61 percent raise in the upcoming school year.” The deal with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association “will add $7.6 million in teacher compensation for 2016-17 school year, with the possibility of $11.1 million if voters approve the district’s mill levy ballot proposal in November.”

Feds say they are listening

The U.S. Department of Education has released “draft regulations outlining how states should judge which schools are succeeding and which are in need of intervention,” noting that the issue is “a key point of contention” regarding ESSA, “with civil rights activists on the one side and teachers unions and Republican lawmakers on the other.” The piece in the Washington Post (5/26) explains that ESSA gives states more flexibility regarding accountability than did NCLB, and that in addition to standardized testing, states can “include other non-test measures, such as access to advanced coursework and rates of chronic absenteeism, in judging schools.”

Meanwhile, U.S. News and World Report (5/27) reports that the department is facing criticism from “Republicans on Capitol Hill and conservative education policymakers” over its guidelines of how states should implement ESSA, and “are accusing the Obama administration of breaking its promises on education reform.”

Moving forward to help our families

CEA’s Social and Economic Justice Committee is beginning to reach out to the greater community to make life better for our families. The Committee selected two focus areas of its Community in Crisis Action Plan: persuading lawmakers to require some level of paid sick leave for working people, especially low-wage earners; and exploring ways to transform school buildings from school day-only environments to Community Learning Centers with extended hours.

The main goal of the latter project is to offer an array of additional services for students, their families and others living in the surrounding neighborhoods. Meanwhile, a change in the sick leave regulations would help many families and our entire community to live healthier lives.

Participants are collecting information and signatures to advance these two projects. If you are interested in helping, please call CEA at 614-253-4731. Or join us at the next Economic and Social Justice Committee meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15. The location will be announced.