There's a national movement of educators and their allies afoot: people are showing up for what is arguably one of the most important professions in our society. Teachers, and the people who make our schools work, deserve better.
From West Virginia to Arizona to Oklahoma, educators have been linking arms in-person and over the internet to call for higher pay, better benefits and overall respect for the profession. We support these efforts wholeheartedly.
Here in Colorado, many educators have seen their wages decline significantly over the past few years, when adjusted for inflation. Recently, Colorado was ranked last in the country in terms of teacher salary competitiveness. Reports on Chalkbeat point out, "teachers in Colorado take the biggest hit for choosing to go into education as opposed to some other profession."
I was struck by what Norma, a former Colorado educator and one of our newest teammates, wrote this week: "As a former public school teacher, I know exactly what educators make. I also know how hard teachers work. And I know that the work, while immeasurably gratifying, is nowhere close to commensurate with the pay. If it were all about money, I doubt that anyone would be a teacher."
She's absolutely right. Great educators don't go into the work just for the money. But, shouldn't our society handsomely reward those who successfully shape the hearts and minds of our collective future? Shouldn't this immense value be rewarded with salaries that encourage our best and brightest to go into, and stay in, the field of education? That's not the case today, and we think it should be.
There is no silver bullet solution to addressing the hemorrhaging of teachers and other educators out of the profession, or to addressing the steep decline of those choosing to enter the profession in the first place. But, the most significant productive impact that can be made for those tasked with educating our most precious and vulnerable citizens – our kids – is higher pay. Let's work together to uphold the women and men who uphold our collective future.