As we slowly pull back from Colorado’s most severe budget crisis in generations, we need to continue looking for solutions to protect the things that matter most–like our public schools and teachers this Teacher Appreciation Day.
In Colorado, we have a paradox with regard to education: home to a highly-educated workforce and some of the nation’s premiere research and educational institutions, Colorado ranks near the very bottom of education funding. Our students are not getting the education they need to compete for good paying jobs because years of budget cuts have damaged our ability to compete. Worse, it has led to teachers losing their jobs, a blow to hard-working educators and their families across the state.
In just three states–California, New York and Illinois–60,000 K-12 teachers face layoffs. Job cuts of this magnitude threaten to stall Colorado’s economic recovery and damage our educational system by forcing larger class sizes, fewer elective courses and reduced services for all students.
When schools get cut, it’s more than just students, teachers and their families who suffer. The entire community pays a price, too. Businesses have long said they invest in communities with strong services, and that includes good schools. 21st century companies won’t invest in places where schools are crumbling and students, cramped into crowded classrooms, are denied a world-class education.
That’s why Colorado’s congressional delegation needs to put partisan politics aside and put our students and teachers first, by supporting S. 3206, the Keep Our Educators Working Act. This important bill will provide millions of dollars for Colorado, to ensure that teachers can stay on the job and students can get the world-class education our economy needs to compete.
Keep Our Educators Working will provide $23 billion to keep the successful State Fiscal Stabilization Fund under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) going for another year, providing continuing relief to state education budgets just now beginning to recover from the recession. Please–say thanks to your teacher this week by calling your Senators and congressional representatives, and urging support for the Keep Our Educators Working Act.