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New Report: ‘Education System is in a State of Crisis’ Say CO Educators

CONTACT
Lauren Stephenson
Director of Communications
Colorado Education Association
LStephenson@coloradoea.org
(303) 968-5573

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2023

Colorado Educators: ‘Education System is in a State of Crisis’
Annual Report from CO’s Largest Union Illustrates Challenges and Opportunities

DENVER, CO — “Decades of neglect have left our education system in dire straits. The solutions are within our reach, and we can’t wait any longer. Are Colorado’s leaders up to the task?”

This is the central question asked by the Colorado Education Association (CEA) in its annual State of Education Report. Based on surveys of CEA educators, publicly available data, and news articles, the report highlights the obstacles facing our public education system, as well as proposed solutions.

Some excerpts:

Investment 
A Colorado educator makes 35.9% less than a comparably educated professional. Our school system is operating at a more than decade-long deficit of $10 billion dollars. This has had deleterious downstream effects on every aspect of our schools, including educator pay, the educator shortage, student outcomes, and more.

Respect 
Respecting our educators as experts means centering our voices in legislation that affects our work. In particular, education professionals must be included in decisions that affect accountability and assessment. Said one educator: “It is deeply demoralizing. I work in a relatively well resourced neighborhood public school. However post pandemic there’s a big push to try unproven, experimental methods of assessment, accountability, and curricula. I feel like I’m being admin-ed to death.”

Safety 
67% of our educators are “very” or “somewhat worried” about a mass shooting at their school. The three most-often cited factors that negatively affect the well-being of our students and our education professionals are: a lack of mental health supports, a dearth of LGBTQ+ acceptance and inclusion, and a preponderance of access to firearms.

Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association, said of the report’s findings: “We must demand that our schools have the resources to meet every child’s needs with well-trained and supported educators, for a sustainable, equitable, and thriving education system.”

The State of Education Report outlines many ways legislative leaders can begin remedying these challenges with educator-driven solutions. Some of the specific policy solutions CEA will be prioritizing in the 2023 legislative session include: education funding, affordable housing, licensing eligibility, working conditions, mental health, and gun safety regulations.

CEA member and newly-elected State Representative Meghan Lukens is working on one such bill. “I’m excited to bring the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact,” she said. “As an educator and CEA member, I have seen the devastating impact of the Educator Shortage across the state and in my own school. I am excited to now be working with CEA to make the process to get a Colorado teaching license more efficient.”

Baca-Oehlert said, “Rep. Lukens’ bill is just one example of a concrete way we can improve our public education system right now. Yes, we’re at a crisis point, but that is no reason to resign ourselves to this status quo. We owe it to our students, and our dedicated education professionals, to get this right.”

 

For the full report, please go to https://coloradoea.org/state-of-education/

 

CEA President Amie Baca-Oehlert is available for followup interviews upon request. Please contact Lauren Stephenson (LStephenson@coloradoea.org), CEA’s Director of Communications, to schedule.

About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is the voice of 39,000 educators, working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the exceptional public schools they deserve, in every neighborhood across the state. As Colorado’s largest labor union, CEA 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.

Follow CEA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Colorado Educators Applaud Polis’ Promise to Increase Education Funding, Eliminate Budget Stabilization Factor By 2027

CONTACT
Lauren Stephenson
Director of Communications
Colorado Education Association
LStephenson@coloradoea.org
(303) 968-5573

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2023

Colorado Educators Applaud Polis’ Promise to Increase Education Funding, Eliminate Budget Stabilization Factor By 2027

DENVER, CO. – During Tuesday’s State of the State address, Governor Jared Polis declared that “access to a quality education is a fundamental right and critical for our economic prosperity.” Polis went on to pledge his commitment to fully funding Colorado’s public education system by buying down the Budget Stabilization Factor during the 2023 Legislative Session and eliminating it completely by the end of his second term.

On behalf of 39,000 education professionals across Colorado, the Colorado Education Association has long stressed the need for substantial and sustained investment in our schools.

Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of the CEA, said:
“After a decade plus of disinvestment in Colorado’s public school system, we appreciate the Governor’s commitment to eliminating the BS Factor, and to fully funding our education system. It is more apparent now than ever that our students and our educators need resources and supports to thrive. Investing in Colorado’s students and educators should be the state’s top priority.

“Though it’s by no means a cure-all, eliminating the BS Factor would go a long way towards righting the systemic issues that have plagued our education system for over a decade. We look forward to collaborating with the Governor on this initiative and centering the voices of education professionals, students, and families.

Eliminating the BS factor – along with other priorities that the Governor outlined, such as housing, workforce development,and healthcare – will require a tax system that is equitable and sustainable. When our public finance system prioritizes the wellbeing of working families in our state over the interests of the ultra-wealthy, we will all have what we need to thrive and fully fund our communities.

“We now call on the Colorado State Legislature to make this proposition a reality for our public schools. Colorado’s educators look to you to stand up for them and their students – to ensure that they are provided with the resources they need, no matter what zip code they live in.”

About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is the voice of 39,000 educators, working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the exceptional public schools they deserve, in every neighborhood across the state. As Colorado’s largest labor union, CEA 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.

Follow CEA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

8 Surprising Things Your Kid’s Teacher Wants For the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are here, and you’re probably on the lookout for the best gifts for your kids and family. But what about your child’s teacher?  We can never truly thank teachers for everything they do, but we can try with these thoughtful gift ideas. We chatted with teachers across the state to see what they’re hoping to receive this holiday season and these were the top eight things they asked for.

educator holiday wish list

 

Our public educators know best what is needed to make sure every child in Colorado has the best opportunity to learn and grow. In the spirit of the holiday season, let’s talk about what we’re hopeful for this upcoming year for our students, our schools, and ourselves.
  • Take a moment to write what you wish for your students, your school, and yourself in 2023 to foster the joy of learning and teaching.
  • CEA will gather the wish lists and produce New Year’s resolutions for school board members/legislators in January.

Submit your wish list items here: coloea.org/educatorwishlist 

Election 2022: Recommended Candidates and Ballot Initiatives Results

2022 CEA Recommended Candidates and Ballot Initiatives Results

Key:

  • 🟢 – Candidate Won / Ballot Measure Passed
  • 🟡 – Waiting on Results
  • 🔴 – Candidate Lost / Ballot Measure Lost

Federal Candidates

  • US Senate – Michael Bennet 🟢
  • House CD1 – Diana DeGette 🟢
  • House CD2 – Joe Neguse 🟢
  • House CD6 – Jason Crow 🟢
  • House CD7 – Brittany Pettersen 🟢
  • House CD8 – Yadira Caraveo 🟢

State and Legislative Candidates

  • Secretary of State – Jena Griswold 🟢
  • State Treasurer – Dave Young 🟢
  • State Attorney General – Phil Weiser 🟢
  • Governor – Jared Polis 🟢
  • State Board of Education – Kathy Plomer 🟢
  • State Board of Education CD6 – Rebecca McClellan 🟢
  • State Board of Education CD8 – Rhonda Solis 🟢
  • State SD3 – Nick Hinrichsen 🟢
  • State SD8 – Dylan Roberts 🟢
  • State SD9 – Arik Dougherty 🔴
  • State SD11 – Tony Exum 🟢
  • State SD15 – Janice Marchman 🟢
  • State SD20 – Lisa A. Cutter 🟢
  • State SD22 – Jessie Danielson 🟢
  • State SD24 – Kyle Mullica 🟢
  • State SD25 – Faith Winter 🟢
  • State SD27 – Tom Sullivan 🟢
  • State SD30 – Braeden Miguel 🔴
  • State SD32 – Robert Rodriguez 🟢
  • State SD34 – Julie C. Gonzales 🟢
  • State HD1 – Javier Mabrey 🟢
  • State HD2 – Steven Woodrow 🟢
  • State HD3 – Meg Froelich 🟢
  • State HD4 – Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez 🟢
  • State HD6 – Elisabeth Epps 🟢
  • State HD7 – Jennifer Bacon 🟢
  • State HD9 – Emily Sirota 🟢
  • State HD10 – Junie Joseph 🟢
  • State HD11 – Karen McCormick 🟢
  • State HD12 – Tracey Bernett 🟢
  • State HD13 – Julie McCluskie 🟢
  • State HD14 – Rob Rogers 🔴
  • State HD16 – Stephanie Vigil 🟢
  • State HD17 – Regina English 🟢
  • State HD18 – Marc Snyder 🟢
  • State HD19 – Jennifer Lea Parenti 🟢
  • State HD23 – Monica Irasema Duran 🟢
  • State HD24 – Lindsey N. Daugherty 🟢
  • State HD25 – Tammy Story 🟢
  • State HD26 – Meghan Lukens 🟢
  • State HD27 – Brianna Titone 🟢
  • State HD28 – Sheila Lieder 🟢
  • State HD29 – Shannon Bird 🟢
  • State HD30 – Chris Kennedy 🟢
  • State HD31 – Said Sharbini 🟢
  • State HD32 – Dafna Michaelson Jenet 🟢
  • State HD33 – William Lindstedt 🟢
  • State HD34 – Jenny Willford 🟢
  • State HD36 – Mike Weissman 🟢
  • State HD37 – Ruby Dickson 🟢
  • State HD38 – David Ortiz 🟢
  • State HD39 – Eric Brody 🔴
  • State HD41 – Iman M. Jodeh 🟢
  • State HD42 – Mandy Lindsay 🟢
  • State HD43 – Robert “Bob” Marshall 🟢
  • State HD46 – Tisha Lyn Mauro 🟢
  • State HD47 – Edwin Dean Ormiston 🔴
  • State HD49 – Judy Amabile 🟢
  • State HD50 – Mary Young 🟢
  • State HD52 – Cathy Kipp 🟢
  • State HD53 – Andrew Boesenecker 🟢
  • State HD57 – Elizabeth Velasco 🟢
  • State HD59 – Barbara McLachlan 🟢
  • State HD60 – Kathryn Green 🔴
  • State HD61 – Eliza Hamrick 🟢
  • State HD62 – Matthew Martinez 🟢
  • State HD65 –  Lisa Chollet 🔴

STATEWIDE BALLOT MEASURES

  • Support – Proposition GG (formerly SB 222) “Amount of Tax Owed Table for Initiatives” 🟢
  • Support – Proposition FF (formerly HB 1414) “Healthy Meals for All Public School Students” 🟢
  • Support – Proposition 123 (formerly Initiative #108) “Dedicate Revenue for Affordable Housing Programs” 🟢
  • Opposed – Proposition 121 (formerly Initiative #31) “State Income Tax Rate Reduction” 🔴 

LOCAL BALLOT MEASURES 

  • Support– ALL Local Mill Levy Override / Bond Measures
    • Brighton 27J 5B 🟢
    • Boulder Valley 5A 🟢 
    • Platte Canyon #1 (Park Co) 4A 🔴
    • Weld RE-4 Windsor 4C 🟢
    • Mapleton 4A 🟢
    • Greeley-Evans 4A 🟢
    • Lewis Palmer 4A 🔴
CEA Media Release: Colorado Education Association Applauds State Board of Education’s Vote to Implement Inclusive Standards

CEA Media Release: Colorado Education Association Applauds State Board of Education’s Vote to Implement Inclusive Standards

CONTACT
Lauren Stephenson
Director of Communications
Colorado Education Association
LStephenson@coloradoea.org
(303) 968-5573

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2022

Colorado Education Association Applauds State Board of Education’s Vote to Implement Inclusive Standards

DENVER, CO. – The Colorado Education Association is encouraged by today’s Colorado State Board of Education vote on the state’s Social Studies standards. By a vote of 4-3, the board solidified Colorado’s place as one of the first states to fully incorporate marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ individuals, in its Social Studies standards.

This important decision follows state law as defined in the passage of HB 19-1192, but thanks to politicized arguments it has taken almost a year to implement. HB 19-1192, called the “Inclusion of American Minorities In Teaching Civil Government,” was sponsored by Reps. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Bri Buentello, and Senator Julie Gonzales, during the 2019 legislative session. Its ultimate goal is to ensure that students learn the full spectrum of our collective history, thereby creating welcoming schools where every student can thrive, and become successful, informed citizens in our diverse world.

However, as the State Board of Education began to debate the recommendations from the Social Studies review committee (a committee made up of educators, parents, and community stakeholders), they received pushback against the law’s implementation thanks to a national campaign by rightwing activists. These activists provided hundreds of “recommendations,” which effectively erased from the standards all references to LGBTQ+ people, people of color, immigrants and other groups; as well as references to “equity,” “marginalized groups”; and any themes that were thought to reflect negatively on the United States’ history.1

Though they purported to be fighting for the quality of students’ education, they ignored virtually all feedback from education experts and professionals, parents, and students.

Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the CEA, had this to say at today’s State Board of Ed meeting: “This fall I criss-crossed the state to speak with as many educators as I could. And one thing that I can say with certainty is that educators are keenly aware of the discussions happening with the SBOE regarding the Social Studies standards. There is palpable fear for their students based on some of the rhetoric that has been espoused during the Social Studies standards review process.”

She continued, “As educators, we are committed, first and foremost, to creating educational spaces that are inclusive and offer students an environment without fear or intimidation, where they can learn and grow.”

Colorado’s State Board of Education ultimately agreed with this view, and voted to fully implement the Social Studies standards dictated in HB 19-1192.

This will be welcome news to CEA’s members and Colorado parents generally, who, research has shown, are more concerned with the real issues facing students and public schools – like a lack of funding and safety – than they are about distracting culture wars orchestrated by outside political interest groups.

“The Colorado Education Association remains committed to our students, and to collaborating with our districts and communities to create the safe and inclusive schools that our students deserve. Educators will always put our students first no matter their race, background, sexuality, or gender expression,” said Baca-Oehlert.

  1. Conservative Feedback Reshapes Colorado Social Studies Standards by Chase Woodruff

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About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is the voice of 39,000 educators, working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the exceptional public schools they deserve, in every neighborhood across the state. As Colorado’s largest labor union, CEA 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.

Follow CEA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram