"Your future is in our classrooms."
"Our kids don't deserve to be No. 46!"
"Fund our future."
Among horns, chants, cheers and waving posters, the call for change was clear today at the Capitol.
"Teachers are putting in the work," said Allie McDonald, a literacy tutor at
Centennial Elementary. "The state and the nation should be doing the same." As someone who recently moved to Colorado for the high quality of life the state has to offer, Allie said she was shocked to hear that same quality wasn't given to education supports.
"Life is great here, but that's not reflected in education funding," she said. "That's devastating. Education is the foundation."
DPS Features video
capturing today's call to action.)
Today was a powerful and inspiring day for education in Colorado when thousands of teachers from across the state came together as one to urge our state government to better fund our schools. The sea of red, which participants wore in solidarity of the cause, flowed over the steps of the Capitol and Civic Center Park, and it was remarkable to see educators from all parts of the state -- urban, rural and suburban; red counties and blue counties; big districts and small districts.
"We're out here fighting for our kiddos and for ourselves," said
KIPP Northeast Elementary teacher Kelie Johnson, who said she was marching both for her students and her own child.
"We're hoping for more funding for our schools and kiddos in general for a better education. And honestly for teacher funding too. If I can't support my own child, how can I support other kids?"
(Hear from more of our teachers in
In Colorado, we fund our students at an average of $2,500 per student less than the national average. We know our kids deserve better than that. Our state needs to dramatically increase our investment in education, and all of our voices play a vital role in this effort. It's critical to be able to compensate our professionals and meet the equity needs of our students who live in poverty, are learning English or require special education.
After working with other superintendents for two years to craft a stronger, better and more fair school finance approach, we were very disappointed that the legislature shelved our proposed
New School Funding Distribution Formula
this week. We'll continue to press our legislators to make a change, and I encourage you to contact your elected representatives to ensure your voice is heard too.
Today demonstrated just how much that support is needed -- as well as the possibility of what it would mean for our kids.
"Teachers do so much for society," said
Steck Elementary parent Dave Vorlage, who joined the rally with his family in support of educators. "This [call to action] should put more teachers in our classrooms and in front of students, investing in our kids and investing in our families."
I hope we can soon look back to see today was the catalyst for change -- the beginning of a brighter future for all students.