Thursday, February 6, 2014

9-NEWS – Teachers Union Challenges Reform Law

Colorado Teachers Union has sued the Denver Public Schools over a new education reform law passed in 2013 that undermines seniority and tenure contract rules with regular evaluations and school district authority to place or not place veteran teachers (putting unplaced teachers on unpaid leave).

The union, in an effort to convince voters to support last year’s one billion dollars ballot proposal, maintained a quiet period on the disliked reforms, but with the defeat of Amendment 66, the union is fiercely attacking the law. The Colorado Education Association, the state’s most powerful government union, is accelerating both a legislative and a legal attack. Legislatively, they are attempting to add a hearing requirement to the law, which would make the unpaid leave option too expensive to use.

As reported by Nelson Garcia, 9-KUSA’s education reporter, this is part of a statewide battle started more than two decades ago to reform Colorado’s public education system and resisted by the union.
But, 9News Political Analyst Floyd Ciruli believes there is something deeper happening here. “We are watching probably one of the most important conflicts in the state right now,” Ciruli said.
He says teachers unions nationally are losing power. Ciruli believes that the passage of Educator Effectiveness Act attacks one of the main missions of the unions, protecting the jobs of veteran teachers regardless of their performance in the classroom. He says CEA is trying to protect its power.
“My sense is that they are in for a very long battle in which they are mostly on the defensive,” Ciruli said. Ciruli says the union has already lost power in Douglas County. He says Jefferson County appears to be next. And, it is happening in Denver and in other districts around the state.
“That has been bubbling up for over a decade now,” Ciruli said. “Significant elements with the Democratic party are moving pro-reform.”
Also see:
Denver Post: Denver teachers challenge law over forced placement of teachers
Denver Post: Colorado Education Association’s lawsuit is bad for education
The Buzz: K-12 educational reform
The Buzz: School board battleground

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