Eight hundred miles northeast of the main #RedForEd event in Phoenix, thousands of Colorado teachers assembled at Denver’s Capitol building for the first of two days of protests.

Earlier this week, two Republican state lawmakers introduced a bill to punish any educators who participated in the strike, with fines, firing, or up to six months in jail. State Senate Democrats denounced the proposal as “anti-worker trash,” and teachers were not deterred from protesting.

“Certainly what happened in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky has fired up public school educators but the truth of the matter is we’ve been suffering from cuts in our schools and classrooms since 2009,” Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association, told the Denver Post. “The fact so many are coming [to Thursday’s walkout] is a real testament to the growing frustration of public school educators in the state of Colorado.”

Despite Colorado’s healthy economy, the state’s teacher salaries rank 46th in the nation. Teachers are paid 22 percent less than the median income, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and schools are underfunded by $822 million annually, according to Dallman.  

“The starting salary in some districts is $29,000. We have educators paying 80 percent of their take home pay just on basic housing costs, student loans, buying food for the table. That is not okay,” Dallman told DenverChannel.com.

The two state’s strikes are part of a wave of uprisings by teachers that began in late February, starting in West Virginia and moving through Kentucky and Oklahoma. Teachers in Indiana have reportedly been discussing the possibility of a strike, noting that its average per-student spending of $7,538 is one of the lowest in the nation.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *