“Just give up already.” “I’m not interested in any of this.” “I don’t have time for this.” “You just woke me up from a really good nap.” These are some of the comments I heard during my volunteer shifts calling voters, asking them to vote “yes” on Amendment 73, an education funding solution which Colorado students and teachers desperately need.
Colorado schools are struggling in a bad way. For being in one of the healthiest and most progressive, prosperous states in the country, our schools’ resources and teachers’ wages are sorely stuck in the past. We are losing good teachers. I personally left the country to teach for two years so I could make a little money as a teacher, and now I’m back calling on you and your support to save Colorado’s education system. There’s a lot more we need to save after this, so let me make this quick.
I could tell you story after story about colleagues and friends, bachelor-degree-or-higher-holding, full-time/salaried professionals who’ve had to work two part-time jobs on top of their career to make enough money, but you’ve already heard those stories. I could tell you that Colorado is $2,800 dollars behind the national average PER PUPIL, and that teacher wages are the least competitive in the country.
But you don’t need me to tell you all of that.
“Just give up already.” “I’m not interested in any of this.” “I don’t have time for this.” “You just woke me up from a really good nap.” are the resounding sentiments two days before Election Day when Coloradans have the opportunity to pass a bill which will change the structure of funding in Colorado in a critical way.
Critics say it’s not a perfect solution, and I agree.
It’s kind of like this: A fifth of the kids in the state have warm winter coats, and the other four-fifths do not, but winter is coming, and a bunch of kids are going to freeze if we do nothing. Amendment 73 is like saying, either everyone gets a new winter coat, or no one does!
Is that really fair?
The kids who already have coats don’t need another coat.
But the only way ANYONE gets a coat is if everyone gets a coat.
And we’re going to take a little more from the adults who have the warmest coats because our students and teachers are all freezing to death out here, and no one’s been able to come up with a better solution for it. But we need to pass this, because a lot of people need the damn coats.
So, I’m sorry you were napping, but saving our future is something I’d get up from a nap for any day of the year.
Jillian Deganhart is a Colorado native, English teacher, blogger of BeanCarriesOn, and social justice advocate.
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