Teachers stage mass sick-out to protest changes to US history curriculum

Sep 30, 2014 by

Seventy percent of the teachers at two Colorado schools refused to work as conservative Jefferson County board tries to change courses and teacher contracts

Two high schools in Jefferson County, Colorado canceled classes Monday after dozens of teachers called in sick in protest of a conservative school board’s proposal to change the history curriculum.

This is the second such teacher sick-out in two weeks and comes on the heels of student walk-outs over the issue. At the two high schools where sick-outs were staged, Golden and Jefferson high school, 73% and 81% of teachers called out, respectively. Unrest is also tied to new teacher evaluations. Negotiations for a new contract between the district and the union broke down last spring.

The board wants to review Advanced Placement US history curriculum, which was recently revised by the College Board, the organization that sets standards for the courses. Some conservative school board members feel that the new curriculum has an overly negative view of US history, and advocate changes.

“My feeling is it’s an attack on teachers and public education, and a disregard for the needs of our students,” said a social studies teacher who worked that day but had knowledge of the protest. The teacher wished to remain anonymous for fears of retribution. “It’s a really, really scary to be a teacher in Jefferson County right now,” the teacher said.

The educator’s fears aren’t without foundation. The district superintendent Dan McMinimee said that each teacher absence would be independently reviewed, and teachers could be docked a day if their absence falls outside of the collective bargaining agreement. He didn’t rule out future discipline if the sick-outs continue.

“I think it’s time for us to take a stand, and let’s put a stop to this,” said McMinimee. “At the end of the day we don’t have kids in classrooms where they need to be in classrooms.”

via Teachers stage mass sick-out to protest changes to US history curriculum | Education | theguardian.com.

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