Huge Pay Disparities Mean Denver Public Schools Should Strike, Too

As the first teacher’s strike in 30 years kicks off in LA today, Denver Public Schools looks poised to strike as well if a deal isn’t reached by this Saturday after narrowly avoiding a strike last year. Like most teachers around the country, most cannot afford to live in the districts they teach in and one in five DPS teachers work a second job. Long-standing issues in funding, particularly in regards to property taxes, mean school funding and teacher pay is an obvious issue of racial discrimination and class warfare.

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Administrative and executive salary documents

District salary documents circulating on Facebook detail a massive pay disparity between the average DPS teacher and administrative officials. While a first-year teacher makes less than $45,000 a year, a rate the union is fighting to increase by up to 10% and with the rapid rising costs of living in Denver amounting to basically an inflationary wage raise, executive directors are pulling nearly a quarter-million dollar salary. Anyone that has ever worked within a school system could tell you the teachers are being hosed. The distribution of labor between even a school principal, making upwards of $85,000 per year, and that of a teacher is astronomical: pouring through the documents, DPS has one administrator to manage every 7.5 teachers, yet one teacher for every 40 students. Couple that with the fact that teachers pay hundreds of dollars per year to supply their own classrooms, work countless hours of unpaid over-time grading papers and preparing lesson plans, and without a doubt spend the most time educating and supervising children, it’s no wonder DPS teachers are ready to form picket lines.

Despite initial record profits and promises that the legalization of marijuana would provide an influx of funding for school districts across the state, that is largely not the case. Construction projects (notoriously nebulous processes) and programs like substance abuse prevention or adding counselors are funded through grant programs from marijuana sales taxes, however, teacher’s salaries aren’t addressed because the grants are not a consistent source of budgetary income for the schools and districts. While voters in Colorado likely had issues like this in mind when voting to pass Amendment 64, the nuts and bolts of the funding limitations mean teachers, one of the last widespread unionized professions in this country not connected to health care or law enforcement, get the shaft. Continue reading →

Golden Boy Promotions MMA Kicks Off Shamefully

Right off the bat, I want to go on record saying that I suspect Oscar De La Hoya is a cocaine addict, which might explain why tonight’s old-timers’ card in Inglewood, California featuring a grudge match main event between eight-years-retired Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and 43-year-old Tito Ortiz was even happening in the first place. Besides being an obvious cash grab by a boxing promoter obviously tired of playing second fiddle to MMA cards as the sport fades in relevancy and recognition, there’s no other explanation to hold a PPV event for two fighters this far out of their prime years, especially when one has obvious CTE issues and is 48. This was like watching The Wrestler for just under five minutes. It’s something the California State Athletic Commission shouldn’t have even sanctioned.

To see one of the first breakthrough, household name stars of the UFC of yesteryear trotted out with abs toned by insulin shots and HGH, his trademark mohawk thinning in the front and trunks I’m sure were retrieved from a long-forgotten storage unit in the Inland Empire is depressing. Chuck Liddell helped turn MMA into the premiere combat sport internationally, and to watch him hardly recognize where he was during the weigh-ins only to briefly light up again once he heard his name called and got to make what is hopefully his last walk up to a ring is so unfathomably cruel. Maybe he needed the payday, pocketing more than $200,000 to fight Tito Ortiz, his arch-rival whom he beat twice in their heyday.

It was a bloodthirsty time for America, when Ortiz and Liddell’s seething hatred for each other helped drive PPV numbers towards the newly-legitimized UFC. Nu-metal and an aggressive, “kill ’em all” kind of patriotism helped color that whole era of fight sports and masculinity in the US and I think collectively we can agree that it’s a culture that’s aged poorly. Seeing that decay, some fifteen years later, in a first-round knockout that Liddell hardly looked present for is something that might stick with purist elements of the sport’s fanbase, people that have harped for years that this is a legitimate test of athletic skills and not a bloodsport. Continue reading →