After last weeks demonstration by high school students, Colorado teachers stayed home on Monday and forced the closing of two high schools in the Denver area. The teachers’ protest came on the heels of a walk-out staged by students protesting proposed changes to the school district’s history curriculum.
Reuters reported that students from 17 high schools in Jefferson County, which is in suburban Denver, walked out last week to protest changes being considered by the school board. The teachers at two of the schools, Jefferson High School and Golden High, called in sick or used personal days for Monday’s protest. Over 75 percent of teachers at Jefferson High and 81 percent at Golden High called in, forcing the two schools to close.
The proposed changes that incited the Colorado protests are drawing statewide attention, as well as national attention, and are aimed at advancement placement history classes in the district. School board members have suggested that the new curriculum “promote citizenship and patriotism” along with “respect for authority and respect for individual rights,” but without condoning or encouraging “civil disorder, social strife and the disregard of the law.”
A report from the Inquisitr noted that some students dressed as historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks during their protest. Monday’s protest by teachers was the second one during the month of September. The first protest came on September 19, as reported by the CBS station in Denver.
Even though the president of the Jefferson County Education Association, John Ford, rejects the idea for the protest was organized by the union, conservative school board members insist that the protests were influenced by outside forces. Even conservative websites like Breitbart News are insisting that the Colorado teachers’ protest is being encouraged by the Colorado Education Association and the National Education Association (NEA).
Along with the proposed changes to the history curriculum, the teachers are also protesting a merit pay compensation package that the school board plan to implement. The pay package is slated to go into effect in November and replaces pay raises for teachers based on time spent working for the district.
The teachers’ sick-out may come at a price as the schools’ superintendent is threatening to dock the pay of teachers who called in sick. Dan McMinimee said that teachers have to prove they were actually sick or face losing a days pay. He also insisted that requests for a personal day have to be made 24-hours in advance and teachers that used a personal day to protest could face the same repercussions.