Thursday, July 31, 2008

TURN mourns the loss of John Grossman
Dear Friends:
It is with great sorrow that I share with you my thoughts about our dear friend, colleague and longtime advocate, John Grossman. As you know by now, John died Tuesday, July 28, at his home in Bexley. He had been recovering from a broken ankle and relaxing after a wonderful trip he had just taken to Europe. He was 62.
We will miss John. He was one of the most passionate, outspoken CEA presidents we will ever know. Without his enthusiasm, Columbus teachers would not be able to boast about so many innovations and benefits.
John was the son of educators. In 1969, he followed them into the classroom as a social studies teacher at South High School. But he didn't remain there for long. He was asked to take a union position only a few years after he began teaching; and in 1978, he stepped into the president's office.
John could not refuse. He was a natural leader who recognized the work that needed to be done to improve conditions for Columbus students and teachers. During John's tenure, Columbus schools weathered desegregation and busing, budget crises and long, often-heated contract bartering sessions.
Good things happened, and John was largely responsible. He was a major architect of our Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program and a leader in developing the collaborative process we now use to negotiate our contracts. He led Columbus City Schools to join with The Ohio State University in ground-breaking teacher training initiatives. Other projects that began under his leadership included the Northland Teaching Academy, Site-Based Shared Decision Making, Decentralization, Competency Based Education, Scout Schools, Multicultural Education and Ohio Institute for Urban Teacher Leadership.
John served on the Ohio Governor's Education Management Council and the Columbus Mayor's Educational Advisory Board. He was one of the founders of the Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN) and was a co-chair of the Ohio 8, the coalition of Ohio's eight largest urban school districts.
He also was a vice president and board member of the Holmes Partnership, a consortium of universities, public school districts, teachers associations and local and national organizations seeking to improve teacher training.
The reason John could do all this, and do it for 26 years, was his dynamic personality and his sense of humor. Many of us will remember how John could fill a room with his presence and his laughter. John Grossman wasn't afraid to say what he thought, and he did so whenever he thought it would help our cause. Sometimes his words weren't popular with those who read them in the newspaper. But they rang true. In fact, they resonated. And things got done.
I, for one, cannot believe that John is no longer with us. I can hear his voice echo in the stairwell of the CEA office building. I can still hear him arguing his point or encouraging me to take a stand on a tough issue.
The best I can do--that any of us can do--to honor his memory is to carry on his work. He would want us to.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 2, at Christ Lutheran Church, 2314 East Main Street, Bexley, Ohio. Calling hours at Schoedinger State Street Chapel, 229 East State Street, will be Thursday, 6-8 p.m., and Friday, 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. or Saturday, 9-10 a.m. at the church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John's name to the CEA Members Scholarship Foundation, Capital University or Christ Lutheran Church.
To leave your own remembrances of John, sign our online guest book at
In solidarity,
Rhonda Johnson, President

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DCTA and DPS Meet With Mediator

Today, we are having a pre-mediation meeting to introduce all of the issues on the table to our mediator, Norman Brand. Several DCTA memebrs showed up to offer their support to our bargaining team. We appreciate all of your support. The DCTA Bargaining Team is working toward a fair and equitable settlement for all teachers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

RMN Story on ProComp

Today's Rocky Mountain News has a 2 page article on ProComp, and Nancy Mitchell did a good job overall in laying out the issues around ProComp. Also open for negotiation is our entire contract- including issues around "time to teach", and peer assistance and review.

I want to set the record straight regarding our new teachers. DCTA wants all teachers to get a raise across the board. We want new teachers to have a salary that is comparable with the metro area. We are proposing that new teachers get across the board increases (in salary) , and bonuses (in addition to salary) that will allow Denver to lead the market as promised to Denver teachers and voters.

DCTA remains committed to negotiating a fair and equitable settlement so that we can attract and retain quality teachers in Denver Public Schools... our kids deserve it!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

NEA President-Elect Dennis VanRoekel

Yesterday, NEA President-Elect Dennis Van Roekel (AZ) spoke to Colorado. We also heard from several other candidates for NEA offices. Our other CO delegates are spending the day at various committee and caucus meetings including Teacher Quality, where Linda Darling-Hammond will be presenting.

NEA, Day 2

Mark Chavez (Boulder Valley) and I were re-elected yesterday by the Colorado Delegation to the NEA Resolutions Committee. We are spending the day at headquarters debating the NEA Resolutions.