It’s Time for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to Stand on the Right Side of History

It’s Time for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to Stand on the Right Side of History

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Fair Pay for Denver Teachers started this petition to Members of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

It's Time for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to Stand on the Right Side of History

Members of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, 

Denver teachers are set to strike on Monday. We’re striking so we can continue to teach the students that we love. We’re striking so we can afford to live in the city in which we work. Although we’ve worked for 15 months to agree on a fair contract, Denver Public Schools has left us no choice but to strike. We’re disappointed, but not surprised, to hear that once again the Chamber is opposing our right to fight for the schools our students deserve. But let’s be clear: the Chamber’s decision to side with corporations over the children and families of this city will not pay off.

Over the last decade, the Chamber has relentlessly supported the privatization of Denver schools. Ten years into the school reform experiment, the achievement gap has only grown, further disadvantaging poor and working class students of color. The reforms have done nothing to increase opportunities for black and brown students. They have done nothing to make teaching a sustainable career in our city.

The policies outlined in the Chamber’s Education White Paper have led to the closing of 48 neighborhood schools with rich histories and generations of graduates. These schools have been replaced by 70 administrator-heavy charter schools. Neighborhood schools are the beating heart of our community. The closure of neighborhood schools has not only failed to improve student outcomes, it has denied a generation of young people stable, comprehensive schools. It has also cost taxpayers untold millions as a result of ballooning administrative overhead.

The so-called reforms promoted by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce have a track record of failure. Instead of working with the communities you claim to serve, you’ve stepped in and told them what they need. That approach is no longer acceptable. Denver Public Schools must work with community members--specifically parents, students, and teachers of color--to address the issues that their schools face.

The truth is, Denver doesn’t need to look far to find strategy that actually works. Generations of data on school integration have shown its powerful ability to improve outcomes for students of all backgrounds. Charter schools and school choice have done nothing to close the opportunity gap. Desegregation has--so why has the Chamber refused to embrace effective solutions?

Last year, educators across the state collected thousands of signatures in support of Amendment 73. Amendment 73 would have brought $1.6 billion additional dollars into Colorado schools, and would have had no effect on the tax bill of 92% of Coloradans. But the Chamber opposed it. Again and again, the Chamber has stood against the best interests of Denver students.

Denver teachers are ready to stand up for schools that our students deserve. The whole city is watching, and you have a chance to be on the right side of history. We urge you to work with us--teachers, parents, and students--to ensure that all Denver students have access to a world-class education.

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At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!