The first day of the large-scale strike began on Monday, when thousands of Denver teachers called for salary increases. On Monday, the rally affected more than 70 thousand pupils. The teachers stated that the strike would continue until officials and the teachers' union resume negotiations. According to NBC News, the strike began after negotiations broke down over the weekend.
On Monday morning, the schools stated that they would be open and staffed by the administration and teachers who did not attend the strike. Negotiations were supposed to resume on Monday morning. Rallies in all states began after Virginia teachers organized the “Red4Ed” movement with a strike (9 days). Thanks to this rally, the salaries of teachers in this state were increased by 5%. Teachers from Los Angeles announced a strike in January and their salaries were increased, too.
More than 70 thousand students attend district-run schools. About 22 thousand students attend charter schools that do not belong to the strike.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, told Denver teachers that they are unique.
"You organized a strike and showed your strength. You gonna change the education system and get a high salary. You deserve it," said Lily Eskelsen Garcia.
The Denver strike was triggered by low teacher salaries. The city’s school district provides various bonuses up to $3,000 to teachers who teach difficult children and pupils from low-income families. The union is trying to reduce or cancel some bonuses to add this money to the total salary of teachers.
"These bonuses are designed to increase the motivation of students from low-income families. So we are trying to improve the training system," local officials said.
Denver teachers disagree, because the bonus system increases the number of layoffs. Not all teachers agree to work with such a salary. Teachers say this is bad for student performance and the system of education in general.
“I started crying, when I heard about this strike ... I love my schoolchildren and I don’t want to say goodbye to them, but at the same time, I understand that teachers need to do something, if we want changes,” said Kimberly Beckeman from South High School.
Local authorities offered to increase teachers' salaries to $45.5 thousand per year.
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