Director of Communications
Colorado Education Association
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.
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.
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.”
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.