Roads Over Children?

How do roads escape politics but children, schools, and teachers, do not?

Chalkbeat shared this great article about the inaccurate stats that had previously been used and some clarifications https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2018/05/01/colorado-was-never-ranked-46th-for-teacher-pay-does-this-change-the-debate/

Here are a few of the quotes from the article but we recommend you read it in it’s entirety:

“A series of unfortunate events led to an inaccurate statistic being spread far and wide — that Colorado ranked 46th in the U.S. in teacher pay.”

“The eye-popping number in a state with a booming economy found its way onto social media posts and signs at last week’s massive teacher rallies in Colorado, as well as into stories in Chalkbeat and manymany other media outlets. But it was wrong.”

“Here’s how the mistake happened — and how groups with different agendas have seized on the snafu to score points:

“The Colorado Department of Education changed its data collection system during the 2014-15 school year and built a new data query system from scratch, officials said. Some teachers were left out of the system, resulting in artificially lower average salaries for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.”

“As always, that statewide average obscures a wide range of teacher salaries in different districts. The Cherry Creek and Boulder Valley districts have average salaries above $70,000, while many rural districts have averages that hover near $30,000.”

“In comments on Chalkbeat Colorado’s Facebook page, teachers have continued to cite the incorrect “46th in the nation” figure, while on Twitter, some critics called the stat “fake news” and said teachers shouldn’t complain about pay when they have summers off.”

“The conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics seized on the new ranking to dismiss the teacher rallies.”

“So, if we’re in the middle of the pack for pay, why exactly are teachers rallying today and tomorrow?” said a blog post titled “LIAR LIAR.” “Why are teachers costing the state $11.5 million? Why are teachers forcing families to scramble for childcare? This entire rally is based on nothing. Nothing.”

“Colorado Education Association President Kerrie Dallman said the change in ranking shouldn’t distract from the problems Colorado faces attracting or keeping teachers.”

“We’re still below the national average,” she said. “We’re not in the top 25. If you took out Cherry Creek and Boulder, which are significantly higher than other districts in the state, that average would drop pretty quickly. … For us, it’s not so much about that ranking but do the salaries match where folks are living?”

 

When we’re talking about educating our children, the future of Colorado, why on earth would anyone be “fine” that we’re below the national average?

 

Yet, when teachers, administrators, classified staff, or even parents speak up about the underfunding issues, they’re called “union thugs” by the groups who just don’t seem to support our public schools or, more accurately, those who don’t want to pay taxes. Others are being misled by these very people and organizations.

How do the employees who work in transportation avoid being called “union thugs” when they’ve been advocating for funding for years as well? Many working on those projects are part of their unions.

We’ve all driven over our share of potholes because we don’t fund much of anything in Colorado. There are comments all over social media about our potholes and lack of snow removal after a storm, all taxpayer funded. Every taxpayer provided service has taken a hit due to our tax structure and the Great Recession.

Our legislators are advertising their investment in education by $150 Million more this year but no one is mentioning that more than $6 BILLION has been removed over the past years. Though it’s nice not to have a cut to funding again, that’s $6 BILLION the state has not and cannot repay to our public schools.

 

Transportation cuts costs by eliminating employees, reducing work hours, and not doing construction projects or purchasing materials or equipment.

Schools cut costs by eliminating “extra” services like the arts, libraries, mental health, reduced price lunches, shorter hours, cutting staff, increasing class sizes, and not purchasing updated resources. In education, services are provided to children, our students, by people. In Jeffco, all of our staff went so far as to take a 3% pay cut for two years to help keep from eliminating as many staff members who were all needed to educate our children.

There are potholes in education as well. Our roads can be repaired.

Can the cuts to the education of our children since 2009 be repaired?

 

Every children currently in the 8th grade or below, has never experienced an education funded at the rate of children older than them including their adult parents nearing the age of 50.

Every parent and educator has been fundraising at their schools to attempt to cover the basics. All the cookie dough in the world will not cover the more than $6 BILLION that cannot be restored to the years our children lost those services.

Make sure you’ve signed a petition and are knowledgeable about Initiative 93. Also, make sure you tell others about it.

 

We aren’t suggesting that roads are not important. But these are the lives of our children and their futures. They are the future workforce of Colorado. More than 14,000 people joined together at the Capitol just a week ago, those voices need to continue sharing information and facts.