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Denver retreats on merit pay after teachers’ strike

New York Teacher

Denver teachers voted overwhelmingly on Feb. 25 to ratify a tentative agreement between their union and the school district that ended a three-day strike earlier in the month. The deal includes an average 11.7 percent pay increase next year for teachers and related service providers such as school nurses and psychologists.

The new contract reduces the city’s contentious merit-pay system to bonuses for educators working in specified schools in high-poverty communities. Denver adopted a performance-based pay system citywide in 2004. The system linked educators’ pay to student test scores, leaving teachers unable to predict their income from year to year and leading to high turnover.

“This agreement secures fair, predictable base pay for Denver educators and will go a long way to eliminating pay fluctuations that have made it difficult for educators to plan a teaching career and a life in Denver,” said Henry Roman, the president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. “With competitive pay in place, the district has taken an important first step in reversing the worst teacher retention rate in the metro area and providing much-needed stability for student learning.”

Education Week, Feb. 6
Labor Notes, Feb. 19
Denver Post, Feb. 25

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