Colorado is currently ranked48th in the nation (when adjusted for cost of living) in teacher pay. It is not difficult to understand how to recruit and retain the best of the best in any industry; education is no different. If we do not pay our teachers a competitive livable salary, many would-be educators are going to decide it is too large of a sacrifice to dedicate their life to our children. It should not be a sacrifice if someone is willing to dedicate their life to providing our children the education they deserve. We need to guarantee both the starting salaries and average salaries of Colorado teachers are greater than the national average (which equates to a 12.5% raise across the board for Colorado teachers). Colorado is a growing, thriving state, and it is imperative we make it as attractive for new teachers to come to Colorado as it is for every other thriving industry in our state. We also need to set stricter state limits on class sizes to make sure that this current population boom doesn’t overcrowd our classrooms and hurt our childrens’ development.
Similarly Colorado ranks 40th in the nation in per pupil funding. The state of New York pays $20,206 per student, while Colorado pays $9,245. Are our children worth $11,000 less than those in New York? I support raising per pupil funding to the national average of $12,261, AND mandating an annual increase at the rate of inflation. As a child that received my entire education, Kindergarten to Senior year of college, in the state of Colorado, I am sick and tired of not being a priority of this legislature. Nothing breeds equality like education. Let’s hire the right teachers, pay them what they deserve, and begin to better our communities from the bottom up.