Denver’s teachers strike for fair wages, government should listen


Courtesy of Creative Commons

The teachers’ union is set to meet with Governor Jared Polis one last time before the state intervenes in possible strike.

Courtesy of Kelly Salinas

America is a future-oriented society in many aspects including experimentation in artificial intelligence and space travel. With investors pouring money into the newest technological advancements, it would seem like the fast pace of innovation would be matched with emphasis on education. But as Denver teachers voted to strike due to insufficient pay, we can see that the emphasis on the future is failing at the start.

Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the country, which is shaping young minds into functioning adults. Disciplining unruly behavior, commanding a classroom, and taking care of children is tough enough, but getting them to learn and retain information ranging from basic language skills to complex math takes a patience like no other. Teaching is more than regurgitating facts from a textbook; it’s holding hands with intelligence and fostering its growth.

A teachers’ strike comes as no surprise as teachers are underpaid for having an incredibly difficult job.Teachers also have to deal with parents calling and emailing to tell them what they are doing wrong, ignoring the fact that they are a licensed professional and do more for their child than their parents know. They also pay for extra school supplies in their classroom out of pocket because some children’s families can’t afford them. Teaching is a job built on passion, not glamour.

Teachers carry so much weight with a smile because they love what they do, but when the system fails to pay them enough for basic needs, it fails not only the teachers, but the students. With strikes in Colorado, Oklahoma, West Virginia and California in 2018, it is predicted that 2019 will have an increase of strikes if change does not take place.

With countless teachers out of the classroom, begging for adequate compensation, the students suffer. As teaching becomes more and more financially impossible, less passionate, less capable individuals enter the industry, which is preventing our children from having the best teachers possible. This is a huge disservice to our society, but it could be prevented.

No matter how much passion a teacher has, not being able to care for your family while caring for other children is heartbreaking. Teachers care for the kids they are working with as if they are their own. They act, not only as an educator, but as a shoulder to cry on, person to trust and most importantly, a role model. They mean the world to children, yet mean nothing to society when underpaid and undervalued.

So is a strike warranted? Absolutely. With a job so influential and important, teachers should be compensated for all they do for not just children, but society itself. Educators shape the society we live in, transforming a child into an adult.  They inspire the next wave of innovation. Investing in the start creates a stronger finish, and investing in teachers creates a stronger society.