A proposal to reduce choice in the taxpayer supported Denver schools


The Denver school board last week introduced a draft policy that could limit the autonomy of innovation schools and zones — district-run schools that under state law have some charter-school-like autonomy.

The policy has been given the official title of Standard Teacher Rights and Protections. If passed, the rights and protections provided would be the same as those provided by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, the local teachers’ union, to teachers in non-innovations schools.

According to the draft, those protections include but aren’t limited to a workload consistent with 40 hours per week, minimal duties outside of classroom teaching, a uniform school calendar and compensation ranking in the top three for neighboring school districts.

Since innovation schools operate under specifically designed waivers from both the collective bargaining agreement and district rules and regulations, removing the contract waivers could limit the schools’ ability to operate as they have in the past. The waivers have long been a sore point for the DCTA.

In some cases, the waivers allow innovation schools to offer students longer school days if needed and allow teachers to be resources to students outside regular class time.