Showdowns in Boulder, Greeley: Colorado Needs Professional Teachers

The Boulder Valley teachers union may be the only one in Colorado on the precipice of a strike. (And why? Perhaps some nostalgic university town vision of what a labor movement should look like?)

But Boulder looks like it’s getting closer to having a little company. As Nancy Mitchell highlights in her latest story for Ed News Colorado, the clash between another teachers union and school district over limited funds has deepened:

Greeley teachers this week overwhelmingly rejected the latest contract offer from the district, pushing to three the number of large school districts statewide with educators still working for last year’s pay.

District and union leaders in Greeley, Boulder and St. Vrain have yet to hammer out contracts, more than a month after students returned to school.

“We have never had three locals at crisis level in their bargaining this late in the year,” Deborah Fallin, spokeswoman for the Colorado Education Association, said Tuesday.

“Crisis level” means an impasse has been declared in negotiations and third-party mediators have stepped in, with little success.

I hate to sound like a broken record (what’s that? maybe an MP3 player stuck on repeat), but these labor clashes only serve to remind us of the need for greater teacher professionalism, including performance-based pay.

And just maybe we here in Colorado can avoid the teacher strike nonsense again….