Denver Teacher Sick-Out … An Action Not Exactly “For the Children”

Some Denver schools are suffering today because unionized teachers organized a sickout, reports the Rocky Mountain News (H/T Complete Colorado):

Not a single classroom teacher showed up for work today at Academia Ana Maria Sandoval in northwest Denver, forcing the principal to scramble to cover classrooms.

All 16 classroom teachers plus a music teacher and the librarian called in sick, said Principal Debra Lucero Kraft.

“I didn’t have any warning,” Kraft said. “I don’t know what the goal is so I can’t really speak to whether or not that accomplished their goal … but certainly I’m not sure if leaving your students without a teacher is a way to address contract negotiations.”

Substitute teachers were found for all but five classes so Kraft pulled in other staff members — the administrative assistant, the psychologist, the literacy coach — to cover those. She also combined some smaller classes.

Four years ago I covered a similar “sick-out” in the Boulder Valley Schools. My reaction today is similar: Grown-ups who make political and educational decisions have to stop making knee-jerk assumptions that the actions of teachers unions are being done “for the children.”

But I also have another question: How much were students in Sandoval really adversely affected by missing these teachers on sick-out today? Something to ponder.

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