Denver education officials recently averted a strike by the local teachers union, which had made veiled threats of a walkout during the tense standoff. But in a letter published in the Rocky Mountain News yesterday, Dr. Kris Enright – the leader of another organization teachers in Colorado can join – advocated for a different approach:
The Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE) believes that strikes and boycotts are detrimental to students and to the reputation of teachers as professionals. While we do not provide “envelopes of cash.to buy doughnuts for teachers passing out fliers,” we do provide advocacy, protection, and professional development resources (i.e., scholarships, classroom mini-grants, partnerships, and sponsorships). We actively support a variety of personal professional development and educational advancement initiatives which will improve teachers’ skills, their knowledge, and ultimately their profession. Such should be the primary purposes of an educator association.
Education is indeed a calling. However, professionalism is a choice.
Therefore, we applaud DPS professional educators. We encourage them to remember why they teach and hope they choose to “focus on the kids.” After all, the behavior of one teacher or a group of teachers reflects upon us all.
To be fair, Colorado’s teachers unions also provide legal protection and some avenues for professional development. But it’s a much smaller piece of what they do. PACE has a narrower focus and much smaller dues because it does not participate in collective bargaining or political campaigns.