Dec 13, 2022 | Blog
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.
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.
Nov 11, 2022 | Blog
2022 CEA Recommended Candidates and Ballot Initiatives Results
- 🟢 – Candidate Won / Ballot Measure Passed
- 🟡 – Waiting on Results
- 🔴 – Candidate Lost / Ballot Measure Lost
- 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 🔴
Jun 22, 2022 | Blog
Last December, we profiled a brave group of educators from the New America School charter system. They’re seeking to become the first charter school educators to unionize in the state of Colorado. Since then, bus assistants from Cherry Creek and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Interpreters from Littleton have joined in calling for their districts to recognize them as a union and immediately begin bargaining with them.
Cherry Creek Bus Assistants are vital in making sure our students arrive at school and return home safely every day. They are responsible for making sure the most at-risk students arrive at and depart school safely. Currently, bus assistants in the Cherry Creek School District start at a little over $14 per hour, which is nearly $2 less than the minimum wage in Denver, and $1.50 less per hour than their counterparts in Aurora and Littleton. For context, the King Soopers workers who won their strike against the grocery chain this past year negotiated a starting wage of $16 per hour in 2022.
In addition to the low pay, experienced assistants have not seen their pay increase even as the starting wage has increased. The most senior Bus Assistant with over 20 years of experience in the Cherry Creek School District makes less than $20/hr.
Bus Assistants are demanding that the Cherry Creek School District show respect by voluntarily recognizing them as a union, giving them a seat at the table. They demand that the district work with their union on pay, benefits and working conditions. They demand that their pay be competitive with other metro area school districts and that they be reclassified as Bus Assistants rather than as paraprofessionals as they are now.
In March, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Interpreters (all seven of them!) unanimously agreed to form a union and ask the Littleton School Board for recognition. The Interpreters are vital in making sure that all students are able to learn in a safe and welcoming environment, and are able to learn the skills they need to advocate for themselves in life. Yet, they are treated as disposable by the district, with little input in how they do their jobs and support their students, extremely high turnover rates, and little pay.
“All educators and public employees should have the fundamental right to form a union in the state of Colorado,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and CEA president. “We’re at a tipping point in time where educators are ready to leave the profession and not having a say in their workplace is a big reason. The 39,000 members of the CEA stand in solidarity with the educators in NAS, bus assistants in Cherry Creek and the interpreters in Littleton and we pledge to support in any way we can to help them achieve recognition.”
All three groups have an incredibly uphill battle to fight to win recognition as unions. The New America School board has already rejected the NAS teachers’ bid to become a union and they are moving into the next phase of their organizing plan. Both the Cherry Creek and Littleton school districts are dragging their feet in hopes that the Bus Assistants and Sign Language Interpreters lose their will to continue.
Furthermore, in this year’s legislative session, a watered-down collective bargaining bill for Colorado county workers made its way through the Colorado state legislature but it does not include K-12 entities and actually strips some protections away from county employees such as the right to strike.
The time to stand with our colleagues and fight is now. Please watch your social media and CEA communications for opportunities to take action to support these brave educators.
Jun 20, 2022 | Blog
The last two years have seemed and felt like ten. Prior to 2020, we were facing problems like chronic underfunding, the beginnings of a great educator exodus, attacks from those wishing to dismantle public education, and attacks from those wishing to destroy unions not only in our state but across the country.
I guess none of that was enough because in March 2020, the universe decided we needed a global pandemic. And then in 2021, the universe gave us relentless attacks on our profession, a concerted effort to roll back all of the racial and social justice rights that have been achieved over the last 50 years and extremist school board candidates pushing these attacks. But through it all, we’ve shown the world that when we join together, we are unstoppable.
Whenever I finish a 16-hour day and then have to be a mom and a wife, when I lay my head down at night, I’m comforted by the fact that I have the privilege of working side by side with teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, bus drivers, food service workers and many others across the state. This gives me hope — that we are on the right path to making public education as great as it can be because our students are counting on us.
We don’t have the vast resources that our opposition has but we have the momentum in public opinion and we have the people power of over 39,000 members across Colorado. We have the subject matter experts and we have the people who are committed to their professions. We have the trust and confidence of parents. We have the love and support of our students. All of which, our opposition does not have. But we need to harness our collective power because our opposition is raising money and firing up their base like never before.
We must remember that we’re in this for the long haul. And election season is approaching fast. The 2021 elections were a reminder that elections matter and bad elections can give us bad school boards. We need to come together to make sure we elect pro-public education candidates who care about our public schools and whose words match actions.
In a world where obstacles are continually put in front of us, we must rise to the challenge of advocating for the public schools our students, their families and our fellow educators deserve. When we advocate together, we know that we will be successful. The power of our union is the power of us.
I wish you rest and rejuvenation over the summer and I look forward to coming back together in the fall, fired up and ready to go for our students, our professions, and public education.
Amie Baca-Oehlert is a high school counselor and president of the CEA.
Jun 19, 2022 | Blog
This June, we congratulate one of Pueblo County School District 70’s most treasured teachers, Eileen Lovell, as she retires after 32 years.
She began her teaching career in the district right out of college and for the past five years, she has been teaching the district’s Home Hospital Students who are those students who are too medically fragile to attend regular school. She travels to their homes and teaches them in their home environment so that they can still receive a quality public education without putting themselves at risk.
“I have been blessed to be able to teach these students for the past five years,” said Lovell. “Less than 2 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and thought I would have to quit my job but my students and their families became my biggest cheerleaders throughout my fight. They were my inspiration to beat this horrific disease and I learned what courage was from them.”
Eileen was an “Army Brat”, born in Germany and growing up in Hawai’i before her family finally put down roots in Pueblo West, Colorado. She wasn’t sure what she was going to major in college but she had taught swim lessons for several years and she also had amazing, patient teachers growing up who were great role models, so teaching seemed the natural choice. She knew during student teaching that she had picked a great career.
She was a member of her union on day one of her teaching career. She knew that the teachers before her fought hard for their contract. After eight years of membership, she became a building association representative. She then served for three years as the president of the Pueblo County Teachers Association, where she helped combine the classified and certified union after the district did not want to recognize the classified union. The two unions became one: the Pueblo County Education Association. She has also been on the union bargaining team for the past 12 years.
After 32 years, she will miss her students but will enjoy “riding into the sunset”, which will include travel, outdoor activities and reading on a beach somewhere in Hawai’i.
Jun 18, 2022 | Blog
In my time in education, I have heard many versions of the statement “I am not political, I just want to do my job.” Such a sentiment is certainly understandable, especially in the political climate we are currently going through as a country. However, it is precisely because of this current climate that we need to be more politically active than ever.
One of the main reasons education is at the forefront of politics is money. Education is the largest share of our state budget, accounting for approximately 35 to 40% of state spending. It is also one of the few places in the budget where legislators can use discretion when deciding how much to spend. So you can bet that many different interests are always trying to direct the education piece of the budget to other places.
Who we have making these decisions matters. Not every legislator understands the complexities of educating kids or is willing to give us all of the resources our students deserve. But because of our work and our organizing every election, a majority of our legislators do listen and generally want to be helpful to education. This year that means we will see the Budget Stabilization Factor brought down to its lowest level in years, which means more resources for our students and salary increases for educators.
This year especially, please put the apprehension about politics aside and get involved in upcoming elections. We need your help to make sure our elected officials listen to us and put more resources toward public education.
Kevin Vick is a high school social studies teacher and vice president of the CEA.