Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Your Bargaining Team... hard at work this afternoon.

Since our friend Van asked...

No, ProComp is not broken. It was designed to ensure that there would be enough money 50 years from now so that our performance pay system would have a sustainable revenue source. I must also add, that an outside professional, Doug Rose, was essential to the development of the financial model. Other districts where alternative comp. was implemented failed because there wasn't a dedicated funding source. We, in Denver, are continually praised for "doing it right", and other districts are modeling their system after ours.

DCTA does have an answer... it's called a counterproposal. We were ready to "pass it" to the district on Friday, May 16th. Our mediator went on our behalf and asked them to prepare a counterproposal on "time to teach" issues. Through the mediator, we were told that they didn't have a counter for us, and that they were going home. SO, if DPS wants to hear our ideas, we're anxious to talk AT THE TABLE about many issues...
  • The current DPS ProComp bargaining proposal is a radical departure from what DCTA members and the voters approved.
  • We need a good settlement that will enable DPS to compete with other Metro area districts in attracting and retaining quality teachers.
  • We need a solution to the “time” issue -- time to do our jobs effectively and time for planning, assessment, data analysis, and working together.
Did I mention that we've been waiting for 2 months for a counterproposal on the development of a Peer Assistance and Review Program?? What a progressive concept- proposed by the union- I must add.

Bargaining in public won't get a deal closed. Sitting down at the table will.

Andale, pues!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thoughts on DPS's proposals...

The DPS bargaining propsals fail on several principles we set forth at the beginning;
Fairness -- It picks winners and losers without regard to teacher quality. For example it is design to build salary growth for younger teacher -- capping salaries for veterans. And for good measure throws out an arbitrary "master teacher" lottery not connected to ProComp in any way.

It's not based on principles (or research) of ProComp -- We are not as quick to say ProComp is broken but we have agreed to make changes. But ProComp was designed to encourage those things that make a difference on teacher quality. DPS's plan aims to implement Washington, DC-based theories by Marc Tucker, not deal with Denver realities. The current DPS proposal is a radical departure from the system that was agreed to by our teachers and the Denver voters.

There's too much funny math in how DPS characterizes its proposals -- sometimes they say 9000 average salary increase, sometimes they say 6000 but too many teachers would get 2.2 percent -- and lose thousands in retirement. Bennet and Pena call us "crazy" for not letting a few teachers take the short end money and sacrificing retirement security for their families.
For all the talk of attracting and retaining the DPS it would strongly encourage teachers to leave after 13th year.

To reach and agreement, they will need to talk about all issues and barriers to quality teaching including financials, time, and peer assistance and review (ie a better program for evaluating, mentoring and assisting teachers who are struggling)

We're ready to talk whenever the district is ready to have meaningful conversations about all of these issues.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day 1 of Mediation

The district (after over a week) finally agreed to bring in a mediator to try and get us to a resolution before the end of the year. Steve Muller was the facilitator in our workgroup meetings over the last few months, and is shifting into a mediator role. We met all day today at the Ad. Bldg. and exchanged economic proposals, and are scheduled to meet again tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. to continue talking about time, money, discipline, and other issues. Here's Lawrence talking economics...

As I've been in buildings this week, the amount of support from our members is great! The bargaining team and I appreciate how informed people are, and want to thank our Association Reps for keeping up on the issues and passing the information on to teachers. Stay tuned to the hotline for more info... 303-831-6209!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Well, we've passed our May 1st deadline, and still no agreement. The stakes are high... DPSRS/PERA merger talks are still happening, DPS wants to go for a mill/bond this fall, and the DNC is in our backyard in August. You would think that there would be some interest in getting a quick resolution...

Our bargaining team has spent over 400 hours in negotiations, and our interests are still not being addressed to our satisfaction regarding salary, time, and discipline. Yes, we have made some progress, and the issues are complex.

In order to get a new agreement ratified before the end of school, our members would need to get their ballots at our May 20th Rep Council meeting...

We're back at the table on Monday evening, and have scheduled talks for Tuesday and Wednesday. On Friday afternoon, the district did agree to try and get a mediator in to help us. We made this request over a week ago. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

NBPTS Renewal!

On April 30th, I mailed my "Box" in to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards! I certified in 1999, and this was my first opportunity to attempt renewal as a Middle Childhood Generalist. ( National Board Certification must be renewed every 10 years.

Since November, I have had the pleasure of working with Carrie Olson's 6th grade Literacy Skills class, at Kepner MS. Reconnecting with students continues to be a wonderful experience. I taught the Reading Advantage progran, working with the Level A students... kinda. (Do you really think I could stick to a script??)

The renewal process entails a "Profile of Professional Growth". It requires teachers to document 4 Professional Growth Experiences that have shaped their careers as a learner, mentor, and professional educator. It's kind of like a portfolio including narratives, reflections, a body of evidence, and video of your teaching.
After 5 months of hard work, my portfolio was shipped off to Texas, and now the harder part... waiting until November for the results!

My brother...

Thanks to all of you that have been asking about my brother. I got another email from him today, and he seems to be doing well.
He says, "I am doing fine over here. I have been pretty busy for a while. Today was a little bit slower. I had 3 days in Fallujah, and now I am back to the regular job. Here is a photo from the trip."
Please keep Chip and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

May 1st Rally!

On May 1st, around 1000 of my closest friends and colleagues rallied outside the Administration Building, calling for the end to stalled contract negotiations. Our Bargaining Team has spent over 400 hours negotiating a new contract.

Click here to see a Denver Post Rally video: