COLORADO (KRDO) -- The Colorado Education Association (CEA) released the results of an internal member survey that shows nearly 40% of members are considering leaving the profession after the 2020-21 school year. Underfunding and lack of resources are at the root of the top reasons given: unrealistic workload, potentially unsafe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and low pay.
Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the CEA said, “The member survey reinforced what we’ve known for far too long: Colorado needs to make the financial commitment to ensure all of our students and educators have the resources they need,” She adds, “When educators don’t feel supported, they leave. When educators leave, students suffer. It’s as simple as that.”
“I wanted to retire at the end of next school year but will do so at the end of this year,” said Ann Franco, veteran teacher at Colfax Elementary in Denver. “I don’t feel supported in my classroom and the state and district repeatedly demand more of us without providing resources. The paltry pay increase I receive every year doesn’t offset the continually increasing demands placed on me. Tell me another profession that requires so much with such little respect in return.”
“To see statistics like this is absolutely startling and only amplifies the critical position educators and districts are in,” said Emily Bochenek, high school special education teacher in Estes Park. “Educators are not okay right now and cannot continue at this exhausting rate. To continuously face underfunding on top of the disparities and stressors intensified by pandemic without any resolve is entirely unacceptable. If we believe in the future of our students and this career, if we truly value those who are bearing every burden of life right now, then legislative actions need to begin aligning with words and promises. Our wellness is on the line. Compassionate educators and dedicated districts will not continue to fall victim to a broken system that undermines their dedication and devalues their humanity. We are not martyrs and deserve better.”