Jeffco teacher on why her colleagues called in sick: “it’s about the disrespect”

After so many teachers called in sick or took a personal day that classes at four Jefferson County high schools had to be canceled, observers are split on whether those teachers are heroes or harming children.

Some parents have told Chalkbeat they support the teachers, even if it means their students have to stay home for a day.

Critics, including The Denver Post’s editorial board, say the teachers’ “antics” are “indefensible both ethically and professionally.”

Many of those critics point out the district’s new teacher compensation package — which links compensation to raises and bonuses to evaluations and has been the focal point of the teacher sick-outs —provides most teachers with raises.

But Tammie Peters, a Golden High School teacher, says it’s about more than money. In a statement she emailed to Chalkbeat, Peters  — who did not actively participate in the sick-out due to a prior commitment — explains why 81 percent of teachers at her school might have chosen to participate:

I stand with my fellow teachers who are “sick” of the board majority’s actions. While we need some reforms in Jefferson County, the board majority is not providing the reforms we need or want. The board majority continues to show disrespect to the voters, the taxpayers, the teachers, the parents and the students of Jefferson County. Some of you may have heard that teachers received a pay raise, so you might wonder why we are so upset. It’s not about the money — it’s about the disrespect. The board majority has refused to work with teachers to develop a fair and equitable pay system. The board majority blames teachers for the student unrest, as though teenagers can be intellectually herded like sheep, and they have shown great disrespect for the voices of our advanced placement students who are concerned about their educations. The board majority has continually wasted money of the taxpayers and rejected the input of Jeffco citizens in the budgeting process. The board majority continues to show disrespect to the voters of Jeffco who approved a recent mill levy override under certain conditions — the board majority has decided not to honor the promises made. It’s not about the money. Many of those Golden teachers today are taking a day without pay to make a point. It’s not about money — teachers willingly took pay decreases and pay freezes for the past five years to help Jeffco weather the rough economy. Our frustration is with the way the Board has implemented policies without any sort of collaboration, all the while treating teachers and their professional association as some sort of enemy.