By Kelly Ragan and Fort Collins
More than 100 Colorado teachers gathered at the Colorado Capitol Friday to welcome legislators into the 2019 session. They hoped the sea of #RedForEd shirts would encourage state lawmakers to prioritize education issues such as K-12 funding and a statewide teacher shortage.
Though not as robust as the April teacher protest that brought thousands of teachers to march on the Capitol, educators — coming fresh off the failure of Amendment 73’s proposed $1.6 billion funding boost in the November election — wanted to come together to show they still planned to fight for more funding.
“April 27 wasn’t a fluke,” said John Robinson, a social studies teacher at Rocky Mountain High School. “It wasn’t a day, it was a movement.”
This year he and other educators want to be seen and heard by the folks who have the power to make changes.
That sentiment rang true for the other Poudre Education Association members who came to the Capitol Friday. For several Fort Collins teachers, Friday marked their first time trekking to Denver for the first day of the legislative session.
Amie Baca-Oehlert, president of the Colorado Education Association, said she thinks teachers being seen from Day 1 of the session sends a message. Many legislators ran on a pro-education platform, she said, and they got elected.
“We have to make sure we maintain that momentum,” Baca-Oehlert said.