Colorado’s largest teachers union is calling on Gov. Jared Polis to provide clearer guidance to school districts and provide more economic protections for both school employees and low-income families.
The Colorado Education Association delivered a petition Wednesday signed by more than 3,000 members that calls on Polis to:
- Direct superintendents to work with local teachers unions to agree on remote learning practices and policies
- Direct districts to reimburse teachers for personal expenses they incurred preparing for remote learning
- Mandate that school districts pay all employees, including support staff, for the entire school year
- Demand that immigration enforcement officers stop making arrests and release nonviolent detainees
- Halt rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the crisis
- Expand unemployment benefits significantly and expedite access.
The requests reflect the concerns educators have about their own roles as 900,000 students transition to remote learning and school districts prepare for potential budget cuts, as well as concerns for the welfare of their students and their families.
When the Colorado Education Association recently surveyed its members about their concerns, the top three issues were supporting student learning in an extended school closure, cited by 92% of respondents, halting evictions during the epidemic, and expanding access to free, healthy food, both cited by 86% of respondents.
Canceling educator evaluations, another issue on which the union has asked Polis to take a stronger stance, ranked much lower, though 62% of respondents still said they supported such a move.