(The AEGIS Alliance) – This has been an uproarious and groundbreaking year for teachers and educators in a lot of ways across the United States. Around the ending of February this year, a walkout for nine days in West Virginia has proven results of a salary raise of five percent for teachers. Early in April, a similar nine day long demonstration in Oklahoma by teachers yielded over $400 million in funding for schools in that state.
Similar battles are being planned in Arizona and Kentucky, where educators are walking out of their classrooms and demanding higher pay, additonal resources for students, and better pensions. The most recent state to join in on the fight was Colorado on Monday. This is what you may want to know about the walkout by teachers there.
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What’s Taking Place?
Upwards of 500 teachers made plans to descend upon Denver’s state Capitol on Monday. 150 of them are coming from Englewood. Englewood is a school district that closed on Monday as a result of the walkout. They’d deemed it a ‘Day of Action’ according to The Colorado Education Association president Kerrie Dallman’s interview with local news.
What is the key focus of the walkout?
It is because of historically low salaries being paid to teachers and educators in Colorado, their primary concerns are better pay. According to the National Education Association’s information, teachers there earned the second lowest salary of every state during 2015, and made an average of $44,421. The following year in 2016, they went up a few spots up to 46th overall, to $46,155. Experts claim that given inflation, their salaries have dropped 7.7 percent over the last decade.
Are their earnings really this low?
Yes they are. Part of the issue in Colorado seems to be a big disparity when it comes to pay. The Denver Post reported that the highest-salary teachers and educators are working in Boulder Valley, where they are earning upwards of $63,000. Although, it is the more remote areas in Colorado that teachers are struggling in particular, and bring in an average of only $22,700. These low earnings have forced educators and teachers to find second and even third jobs being a waiter or waitress, doing nanny work, or working a job in retail.
Anything else these teachers are demanding?
Similar to teachers in other states, Colorado’s educators have concerns about a lack of resources for students. The Colorado Education Association says the state’s school systems are underfunded by upwards of $828 million. Experts have ranked the state 42nd in the amount of money being allotted for every student, this is $2,500 below the average.
Will state lawmakers listen to the demands?
This is uncertain. Educators and teachers in Colorado are sounding alarms about low pay and lack of school funding, and have been for for years, but haven’t made much progress in obtaining additional resources. Kevin Grantham, the Republican president of Colorado’s Senate, is opposed to giving in to their demands in particular and cited other needs. “Roads need more money, and we have an opportunity to do that,” reports say Grantham mentioned recently, and to “Quit making excuses.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.