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Our History

Since 1875, we’ve been advocating for exceptional public schools in Colorado.

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.