Teachers unite for #RedForEd


Teachers hold up signs in protest for higher school funding throughout the state.

On April 27th, 2018, thousands of Colorado’s teachers joined together to protest for both higher teacher pay and school funding. This event comes in light of many other teacher protests in other states across the nation.

This protest led to many schools and school districts throughout the state being closed on Friday. Schools had to close because they did not have enough teachers and/or substitute teachers to run school for the day.

This event also caused Lewis-Palmer School District to be closed last Friday. Many teachers throughout Lewis-Palmer High School participated in the demonstrations at the Capitol. Many of the teachers from the science and social studies departments went to the Capitol in Denver, along with numerous other teachers from the school.

Mr. LeSage is a social studies teacher here at Lewis-Palmer High School who participated in the walkout on the 27th. “The event on Friday is going to take place at the Denver capitol and it’s a day of action that teachers, educators, paraprofessionals, supporting siblings and spouses are going to descend upon the capitol in Denver and advocate for funding for education and to rally for greater awareness to our state legislators about the issues that are facing today’s schools in regards to funding.”

When asked about why he chose to walkout, LeSage said “there’s a lot of things involved. What is going on is that Colorado is one of the least funded states in regards to public education and Lewis-Palmer School District 38 is one of the least funded districts in Colorado, making us one of the least funded districts in the nation, but look at what we have done with our education. We are providing top-class education, think of how much more we could do if we had the funding, but the problem is, is that the funding needs to come from the state level in some regards.”

The internet has been a huge part of why these issues have been brought into light. The news of the walkout began to trend on twitter as enraged students and teachers spoke out against the government. “The media has already skewed it, that it is a bunch of whiny teachers that want more pay. That is one part of it in regards to teacher pay, but it is all about school funding.” LeSage responded when he was asked how he felt the media was responding to the event.

When asked about how he thinks the schools should be funded differently, LeSage said “we need more desks, we need markers, we need funding for unfunded mandates when they require us to do state testing they do not give us the money to buy all of the tests, and money to grade all of the tests and so that is stuff that has to come out of textbook money to do that, so we are advocating for a bunch of different things.”

On April 20th, Senate Bill 264 was introduced. This bill wished to prohibit public school teachers from indirectly or directly being involved in a strike. It would also allow school districts to not pay teachers for any days they participated in a demonstration, and it would also allow them to ask for an injunction to stop a strike in court.

LeSage further explained some of the aspects of the possible bill. “Two Republican state lawmakers initiated a bill that said if you strike you must be fired and if you are in contempt of court for being fired then you must serve jail time.”

Colorado wasn’t the only state that participated in walkouts; the state of Arizona just wrapped up their fifth day of protesting after Governor Doug Ducey finally agreed to give striking teachers a twenty percent raise over the next two years (CBS News). Arizona receives even less funding than the already poorly funded state of Colorado.

Senate Bill 264 did not end up going through the state legislator. One of the two people who proposed the bill stated that he was killing the bill due to concerns over state lawmaker’s already large workload with the days of the legislative session dwindling. This announcement comes as a relief to many teachers across the state. As of now, teachers have returned to their classrooms and are still waiting for changes in funding.