More than three-quarters of Denver students showed up for school on the first day of their teachers’ strike Monday, according to Denver Public Schools.
The attendance rate was far higher than on the first and second days of Los Angeles’s recent teacher strike, when less than a third of students came to school.
Denver’s relatively high attendance rate is not unexpected, since the district and union both have encouraged students to go to school. In contrast, the Los Angeles district early on urged families to make alternate child-care arrangements.
The district did not release school-by-school attendance figures that would illuminate whether some schools had more families join teachers on the picket line or fewer families confident in their students’ ability to remain safe.
The attendance rate also does not reflect the fact that many students appear to have left after the school day started. In some cases, high school students walked out to show solidarity with their teachers, while in others parents picked up their children after growing concerned about conditions inside poorly staffed schools.
“My 7-year-old didn’t last more than a couple of hours before coming to me completely stressed out and overstimulated, begging to go home. My 10-year-old said today was basically a ‘lazy day’ and that they didn’t accomplish any learning,” Molly Garcia, a parent who works in a district kindergarten class, wrote Monday night on a Facebook forum about the strike. “They won’t be going back to school until the strike ends.”