DENVER (CBS4)– Thousands of Colorado teachers donned red shirts and gathered at the state Capitol for a second day in a growing educator uprising.
Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke to the large crowd, congratulating them on making their voices heard.
The “Day of Action” rally forced the closure of more than a dozen school districts in Colorado Friday. The districts account for over half of the approximately 910,000 students enrolled in Colorado schools.
Hickenlooper said that lawmakers are working to put money back into education that the state borrowed during the Great Recession.
Educators want more classroom resources and have received offers either for increased school funding or pay, but they say the money isn’t guaranteed and the efforts don’t go far enough. The walkouts are the latest in demonstrations that spread from West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky.
“I grew up in Parker and I teach in Aurora. The education and experience I had in elementary school in middle school in high school. my kids aren’t seeing that. We talk about poverty we talk about community we talk about all these things that affect how kids grow up. Why aren’t we making it a balanced field in our schools? We can’t change what happens on the street but we can change the environment in our schools,” said Crawford Elementary School Teacher Conor Simbeck.
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In Colorado, several thousand educators rallied around the state Capitol on Thursday, and again on Friday, with many using personal time to attend two days of protests that drew as many as 10,000 demonstrators.
Lawmakers in Colorado have agreed to give schools their largest budget increase since the Great Recession. But teachers say Colorado has a long way to go to recover lost ground because of strict tax and spending limits.
Even though DPS canceled classes, one big school event continued downtown — the Shakespeare Festival.
Copter4 flew over about 1,000 students near the Denver Center for Performing Arts on Friday morning.
About 5,000 students of all ages participate in the celebration of the bard. Despite the protests downtown, both teachers and schools agreed the show must go on.