Raising Hands for Education

Recent Teacher Protests are Sparking Change


David Zalubowski

Elizabeth Garlick, a teacher at North Mor Elementary School in Northglenn, CO protests

Gracie Nowlan, Staff Writer

     After a day surrounding their students the teachers are what is left. Unfortunately though, the teachers may not be ‘left’ anymore. In a 2012 survey 6.6% of teachers said that they wanted to leave teaching as soon as possible and two-thirds of US teachers quit before retirement, according to the Learning Policy Institute. Don’t just blame it on the students as most teachers joke but, “Low salaries, dissatisfaction with testing and accountability pressures, lack of opportunities for advancement and dissatisfaction with working conditions,” are what is really driving these teachers to speak up.


Coronado teachers, along with other teachers in Colorado, have decided to stand up without raising their hand for permission. Staff members and teachers from all over Colorado came together in the Capitol building in Denver to protest the low pay and unsatisfactory working conditions on Tuesday, April 17th. Coronado staff, including Ms. Jacobs, “organized a walk-in [about] some of the issues facing both teachers and students.” The teachers’ main goal for this walk in was to try to, “bring awareness to things like the teacher retirement plan, the school finances,” and with the hope “that the state will give [the school] more money for facilities, education, curriculum, and the safety piece.” The teachers and staff addressed “just all the issues about education.” Ms. Jacobs explained.


Ms. Jacobs and roughly thirty to forty other staff members and teachers from CHS met at the flagpole at 7:15 before school and began talking about the issues they face. The staff as put by Jacobs, “walked around the school mostly for visibility issues and then [they] went to work.” This peaceful walk-in allowed the teachers of CHS to come together and discuss the daily issues they all face. Jacobs went on to say that, “In the vein of trying to bring awareness to [the issues] but trying to also be there for [the students] in school.”


In addition to the recent protests on Monday, April 16th, many teachers and staff members attended a protest in Denver on Friday, April 27th. These staff members sent a powerful message for education, so much so that there was no school on the Friday of the event. A myriad of teachers are heading up to Denver, leaving few substitutes and remaining teachers to cover the amount of absences. This then leaves the students with the day off on the 27th.


Ms. Jacobs, who personally attended the event, explained just what went down last Friday. “Especially in our state, legislators have kind of struggled to properly fund education and there are different statistics out there but [Colorado] is one of the lowest funded per pupil in the United States. So, [Colorado] spends less on [students] than other states in the country do,” Jacobs says, explaining the some of the reasons for the recent protest. The protest went from nine in the morning to roughly 3:30 pm as teachers and staff listened to speeches, rallied, marched, and had the opportunity to speak with some of the state legislators. “There were probably around 20-25 Coronado teachers and staff members there. [Jacobs] was told by another educational leader on Saturday at a conference [she] was at that there were 14,000 teachers on Friday and around three to four thousand teachers on Thursday because Douglas and Jefferson County did it on Thursday instead of on Friday.”


Overall, the protest brought a large turnout to Denver and it was a success. Teachers, staff, and students hope to see a change in education, school safety, funding, as well as teacher pay in the days, weeks, and years to come.