Today, we rally!
Yesterday, we took our students to the Denver Botanic Gardens. We saw them light up with delight and amazement as they saw things they’d never seen before. We watched them wonder and laugh and play and discover. We saw them sit still, heads bent over journals. And it made me so happy to be able to give them this gift…a day like that day. And there are so many other thankful days when I see them both struggling and growing because what they are learning is hard, but worth it!
And on those days when we are reading “The Outsiders” or an amazing poem, and I can hear a pin drop, they are listening so hard. And sometimes in those moments their arms are about to dislocate from their shoulders because they want so much to share or answer or volunteer for something. These are important moments and they matter.
I am a teacher, I know that public education matters. I know that what I do matters!
We aren’t taking a personal day off today to be cute or rebellious or demanding. We are standing up for the future of our profession. We want good people to want to be teachers! We want the kids in our classrooms to want to grow up and become teachers! We are not asking for the moon. We want our schools to be appropriately funded and teachers to be appropriately compensated and to have a secure retirement. We are marching for the future of public education.
To us it’s important that regardless of what side of town you come from, that your child gets to go to a school where there are sturdy desks and updated books and challenging science experiments and art class…and field trips to beautiful gardens! Too many students in Colorado don’t get to take advantage of these learning opportunities, and that is unacceptable. The quality of education that students are getting is largely dependent upon their zip codes. Due to local control of funding, there are districts in Colorado where taxpayers have voted to pass mill levy overrides by way of increasing local property taxes. But in many districts, taxpayers have have voted these mill levy overrides down over and over again.
Additionally not only do we not have enough funding, the funding formula we have perpetuates a cycle of inequity particularly for high needs students. Now is not the time to pull back efforts to equitably fund our students’ education.
All of Colorado’s students deserve better—and so we march.
We are marching for the future of our democracy…in which a free and quality education for everyone is perhaps our most integral, fundamental resource! We are marching because we care so much and because we know the children of Colorado deserve the best.
MaryAnn Stratton is a Language Arts teacher at Century Middle School in the Adams 12 School district. She is a passionate teacher leader who works to bring the love of reading, writing, and drama to her students each day.
Photo credit: EBL News