Even the Sunset Says So

Is there a prettier Denver sunset than this ‘red’ sunset over teachers rallying to strike??

I don’t know what you were thinking, DPS. Did you not realize you are a district in a union-led hotbed of liberals???

Did you think we were going to sit down and shut up??

We’re going to rally. We’re going to win.

Even the sunset says so.

Oh, Susana (Cordova)

Oh, I came from no advancement
with my income on my sleeve
I’m g’wan to leave Denver
my true rate for to see
Oh, it rained all night the day I left
the district it was dry,
the burn so hot I froze to death
Susana, don’t you cry

Oh, Susana, oh don’t you cry for me
I’ve come from no advancement
with my income on my sleeve

I jumped aboard the income gap
And traveled down the schedule
The ‘lectric lie magnified
My college’s credential
The district bargaining went bust,
I really thought I’d die,
I shut my eyes to hold my breath,
Susana, don’t you cry

Oh, Susana, oh don’t you cry for me
I’ve come from no advancement
with my income on my sleeve

I had a dream the other night
When everything was still
I thought I saw Susana,
a-coming down the hill
The ProComp deal was in her cheek,
The tear was in her eye,
Says I am coming for you, meek,
Susana, don’t you cry

Oh, Susana, oh don’t you cry for me
I’ve come from no advancement
with my income on my sleeve

I soon will be without a check,
And then I’ll look all round,
And when I find Susana,
I’ll fall upon the ground,
But if I do not find her,
This bargaining will die,
And when it’s dead and buried,
Susana, don’t you cry.

Fifteen Reasons Why: We Deserve More, DPS

Denver Public Schools has filed a request for state intervention to prevent the teachers’ union from striking next week. In the 19-page file, Superintendent Susana Cordova and her school district legal team have laid out reasons A-O (fifteen reasons) why the state should intervene.

Fifteen reasons why we, the teachers, deserve to be paid a fair, living, predictable wage.

Fifteen reasons why schools are targeted as the saviors of society in the same moment that teachers are vilified by the press and the public.

Fifteen reasons why we need a strike: let’s draw national attention to our plight, to the plight of a society that devalues education and the teachers who work to change the world.

Below, I have copied and pasted the fifteen reasons with haikus that represent teachers like me who have dealt with every one in some form or fashion:

A. Loss of Instructional Time from Teachers on Strike:
six hours a day
with every kid, every need
(and six more at home)

B. Students with Special Needs:
making learning plans
for families who need voices,
for inclusive rights

C. English Language Learner Students:
try writing our wrongs
again: try righting our wrongs
to build fluency

D. Potential Denial of H1-B Visas:
immigrant teachers:
First Amendment denial
(freedom, too, revoked)

E. Students Enrolled in Affective-Needs/Autism Center Programs:
routine disruption
tears students from what they need:
teachers who love them

F. Students Receiving Mental Health Services:
so much more than school
SSPs save our students
(sometimes from themselves)

G. Students Receiving Medical Care Services:
our school nurse gives them:
medicine, patience, advice,
hope for the future

H. Students Dependent on Schools for Food and Nutrition:
every teacher here
has given to the food bank
(lunch is not enough)

I. Students Dependent on Schools for Shelter from the Elements:
the prison pipeline
could stop with these school buildings
and a teacher’s love

J. Gifted and Talented Students:
let them be leaders
led by those who see their light
(you guessed it–teachers)

K. Student-Athletes Seeking Scholarships:
cultural veto:
to remove a student’s chance
of avoiding loans

L. Students Taking Concurrent College Classes:
what teachers give them:
highly-educated guides
for college keenness

M. Financial Hardship on Families:
double-income trap
means no parent waits at home
(they need our service)

N. Absence of Childcare for Families:
after all, aren’t we
glorified babysitters
asking for too much?

O. Fewer Resources for New American Families:
I beg taxpayers:
come visit our newcomers
to grasp sacrifice

Fifteen reasons why we fight every day for our students’ needs. Our society’s needs.

Thank you, DPS, for laying out our reasons. For proving to our country how badly we need to strike. For creating a legal request to clarify how heavily we carry the weight of the world.

For showing us all how little we earn as we carry it.

Dear Governor Polis

I am begging you, as a father, a son of a teacher, and a former superintendent, not to intervene in the possible teacher strike at Denver Public Schools.

DCTA has been negotiating with DPS for fifteen months. All we are asking is for a transparent salary schedule similar to every other school district in the state, not one plagued with unfair bonuses given to some teachers and MANY administrators. We are asking for deep cuts to central administration, where millions of dollars are wasted on positions for non-student-facing employees. We are asking for a salary that will help us pay the exorbitant healthcare costs this district offers (I’m talking $12,000 deductible for a family of four!!).

We have already had a mediator who used to be the head of the Colorado Department of Labor. We have done everything we are supposed to do to make fair proposals and meet the district at the bargaining table in good faith.

We need your support, not your intervention.

We give our lives for our students. But all of us will leave this district–this profession–if we must face a future where we are vilified by the press and our superintendent, where we are not paid adequately for our high levels of education and certifications, and where our governor doesn’t support us.

You have the chance as our new governor to show the world where you stand as a human being. Rather than giving into the corporate greed of charterization, I’m begging you to support the faces who face those children, who love those children, for more hours than anyone could ever put a dollar to.

Please, Governor Polis. Show us who you really are, and who you really aim to be as the leader of my home state.

Sip It Up

beer can be glory
in an Oregon winter
as soothing as warmth