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About CEA

CEA is the voice of educators from across the state – working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the public schools they deserve.

Voice of 39,000 Colorado Educators

We unite the voices of 39,000 educators from across Colorado to ensure that public education is funded, educators are respected and supported, and schools are safe for our educators and students.

Who We Are

We are teachers, counselors, social workers, nurses, bus drivers, food service workers, education support professionals, mechanics, custodians, maintenance workers, office professionals, retired educators, future educators and everyone who makes up the diverse and vital fabric of our public school system.

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Our Promise

As Colorado’s largest labor union, the Colorado Education Association works collectively with all education stakeholders to ensure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

Our Mission

CEA works collectively to provide the best public education for every student.

Our Pillars 

Student-Centered Learning

teacher standing with students in hallway

CEA members believe that the only way to guarantee our students’ success is to put our students at the center: the center of our classrooms and our schools, the center of education reforms, and the center of attention in every conversation about public education.

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  • CEA is committed to working collaboratively with all Colorado communities to ensure the best public education for every student.
  • CEA is working to ensure that research, high-quality student assessments, and training are in place to allow educators to use data-driven decision making in classroom instruction. CEA supports evidence-based, innovative instructional practices with documented outcomes that can be replicated across schools and districts.
  • CEA will work with teachers to integrate formative assessment data into classroom instruction and advocate for effective training for teachers in the use of formative assessment data.
  • CEA advocates for the integration of the Colorado Growth Model into a systems approach to accountability and improvement that will help educators determine if students are on track to meet academic standards and achieve college and career readiness.
  • CEA is committed to ensuring that educators get training in implementing academic and postsecondary workforce readiness standards, using new state assessments, and implementing supports for student learning that engage students and ensure their success in school.

Professional Excellence

teacher in front of classroom with students

CEA members believe that educators provide the stable, nurturing, inspiring environment that makes it possible to teach each student and provide individual attention to each student’s learning needs. We must raise the bar for what it means to be a quality educator.

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  • CEA is committed to the meaningful preparation of teaching candidates, including requiring every candidate to pass a rigorous, classroom-based performance assessment before being licensed to teach.
  • CEA is working to ensure that quality teachers are trained to be cooperating teachers and mentors and all candidates have the clinical preparation they need to teach.
  • CEA supports local associations and districts in developing programs in which teachers mentor and evaluate their peers in order to help beginning teachers succeed, increase teacher retention, assist teachers in improving their skills, and create career opportunities for teachers.
  • CEA will work with higher education institutions to prepare candidates to teach in hard-to-staff schools through structured practice prior to full-time placement.
  • CEA advocates for recruiting a diverse teaching force to teach an increasingly more diverse student population, which will lead to increased graduation rates and greater postsecondary college and career readiness.
  • CEA is committed to becoming the preeminent provider of professional development through an in-house Professional Learning Institute which delivers high-quality learning experiences to teachers.

Economic Investment

CEA members marching in street

CEA members believe education is the best investment we can make in the Colorado quality of life. Every Coloradan shares the problem of our low economic investment in public schools and the challenge of achieving sustainable funding for a quality, 21st century public education system.

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  • CEA is committed to engaging Coloradans in conversations about the need for sustainable education funding and forging community partnerships to attain sustainable funding.
  • CEA is working for an adequate, equitable school finance system that will provide sufficient revenue for districts to meet state standards, assessment, accountability, and evaluation expectations and educate all students including English learners, students living in poverty, and special needs students.
  • CEA supports the adoption of a modernized state tax system that meets education’s needs and supports economic development, and modifications to TABOR and other revenue growth and spending restrictions which artificially limit education’s financial resources.
  • CEA will work to protect the long-term solvency of the State Education Fund and the Constitutional spending requirements for public education.
  • CEA advocates for affordable access to higher education for all Colorado high school graduates, including undocumented students who attend Colorado high schools.
  • CEA is committed to concurrent enrollment, early college, and fifth year programs that ease the transition from high school to higher education through the opportunity to take college courses in high school.

Our History

The Colorado Education Association (CEA) was founded in 1875 by a handful of educators that came together, voted, and formed the first union for public education workers in Colorado.

By 1921, CEA had nearly 6,000 members, or nearly 84% of all Colorado educators and adopted its first constitution. CEA became an affiliate of the National Education Association in 1929, making it the 12th largest affiliate in the nation.

In 1931, CEA led an investigation into education financing. In the report, CEA proposed that the state provide additional funds to schools that would allow them to pay an annual salary of $1,000 to $1,200 per teacher.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, educators from across Colorado worked to win some of the first master agreements for their local associations.

In recent years, we have led statewide advocacy efforts to restore adequate funding to Colorado public schools, joined in #RedforEd actions along with our fellow educators in states like Arizona, Kentucky, and West Virginia, and launched campaigns to emphasize time for learning and teaching in the classroom above excessive standardized testing.

For over 140+ years our numbers have grown considerably, our impact in shaping public education has deepened, and we are stronger than ever before. We continue to advocate for exceptional public schools in every neighborhood in the state.

CEA is a state affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), America’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857, NEA proudly claims affiliates in all states with more than three million members who work at every level of education, from pre-schools to universities.

Become a Member

There is power in numbers. Joining together in strong union allows us to empower educators and give you a collective voice to negotiate and advocate for your students, your workplace, and your profession.