By Melanie Asmar, Chalkbeat Colorado
The Denver teacher strike was, at its core, a fight for higher pay. But it was also a backlash against controversial school district policies, ballooning bureaucracy, and a sense that the powers-that-be weren’t listening to teachers.
Amid all of that, a battle cry that originated with black education activists in Denver began catching on with teachers and the parents supporting them: “Flip the board.” The message was written on signs, appended in hashtags to social media screeds, and shouted at rallies.
“Flip! The! Board!” teachers chanted. “Flip! The! Board!”
The message is a reference to the Denver school board, a seven-member body that sets district policy and acts as boss to the superintendent. For the past decade and a half, a majority of them have agreed with a set of policies — such as paying teachers based on merit, closing struggling schools, and opening new charter schools — that have made Denver Public Schools a nationwide exemplar for a certain brand of education reform.
But those same reforms fueled the frustration that drove many teachers to picket. The call to “flip the board” represents a desire to elect members who think differently.
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