CEA Today May 22, 2020

Join CEA’s Daily #LunchBreakAction Next Week!

Beginning Tuesday of next week, CEA will be doing daily Lunch Break Actions – quick and easy actions you can do to tell the legislature know that we are united in our mission to protect public education funding and keep budget cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. There will be a daily reminder at 7am, beginning Tuesday, on CEA social media letting you know what the action is for that day. Let’s show our legislature what solidarity looks like!

Legislative Session Resumes on Tuesday:  Send an Email to the JBC Telling Them No More Cuts!

Since 2008, public education funding in Colorado has been underfunded by $8 billion; $572 million this year alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and proven how critical K-12 Public Education is for our society and any further cuts to an already disastrously underfunded system will have extremely detrimental consequences.

Join us in sending members of the Colorado Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee an email telling them to fill the budget gap somewhere else.

Demand Senators Send COVID-19 Relief to the States

Colorado is staring at a scary $3.3 billion shortfall due to lost revenue from the coronavirus crisis. The U.S. House passed the HEROES Act, an historic bill that would help avoid the worst of the education cuts that are expected because of falling state revenues and Great Depression-level unemployment. But the bill’s fate is uncertain in the U.S. Senate. If we don’t act now for federal funding, we won’t be able to give students the help, support and opportunity they need when school buildings reopen. Write our senators now and demand they prioritize our students and educators with dedicated funding for public schools.

Carry a petition for Initiative 271

Without an emergency tax, education cuts in the hundreds of millions could force widespread teacher layoffs, permanent school closures, more four-day weeks, and reduced spending on technology and maintenance. But there is a silver lining – the urgency of this situation has inspired several hundreds of education supporters to volunteer to get a fair tax measure on the ballot. Plus, new public polling shows 69% of Coloradans – a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters – would rather raise taxes on the wealthy than suffer catastrophic cuts. Fair Tax Colorado has support and people are engaging at the right time. If you haven’t already, will you join your fellow Coloradans in carrying and/or signing a petition to get Fair Tax Colorado’s citizen initiative on the ballot?

Did you know you can also tell your story about how the potential of losing funding because of the COVID-19 crisis could affect your classroom and students and what an additional $1 billion in funding would do for public education? Check out the Storyvine app to tell your story!

RSVP for Great Ed’s Funding Town Hall, May 26

Join Great Education Colorado for a virtual education funding town hall, Tuesday, May 26th from 5:00-6:30pm. Listen to experts talk about the state of public education funding in the time of COVID-19, ask questions, and learn how you can get involved. Educators are encourage to attend and share your valuable perspective. Register (required) NOW!

Ed Summer is HERE…apply now!

Want to learn how to organize in order to make our union stronger? Do you want to get paid to do it? Join us for Ed Summer! Ed Summer is a 6 week paid organizing internship for educators and education support professionals who want to gain knowledge and experience in building power for their local Association. This summer we want to lead the conversation about what public education looks like in Colorado. We have an obligation right now to redefine public education and to engage the public, parents, students and educators in a shared vision and plan for the schools our students deserve. The application window is open and the deadline to apply is May 27th. Spend the summer organizing with us!

Census News and Resources

Field operations have resumed in Colorado for the U.S. Census Bureau to help boost response rates for Census 2020. Census invitations are now going out to the houses of people who do not receive mail there. The bureau had suspended field operations in mid-March due to the increased spread of COVID-19. At some point, census-takers will return to the houses of those who have not responded to help them fill out the questionnaire. In Colorado, 1.6 million households returned the survey for a self-response rate of 62.3%. The deadline to respond is Oct. 31st, and it is possible to do so online at 2020census.gov or by phone at 1-844-330-2020. Educators wanting to engage their students with the importance of a complete and accurate census count should  use these specific activities for all grade levels from Statistics in Schools.

Apply for CEA Ambassador Fellowship

CEA is taking applications now for the 2020-21 Ambassador Fellowship from prospective teachers and education support professionals who wish to amplify educator voice and expand their ability to influence educational policy and professional practice. Fellows must commit to attend all face-to-face and online meetings and will earn a $2,000 stipend at the completion of their term. Complete the fellow application by Thursday, May 28th. The Fellowship also needs mentors to facilitate the program and provide content learning and coaching for up to six assigned fellows throughout the year. Mentors will earn a $2,500 stipend at the completion of their term. Complete the mentor application also by May 28th. Reach out to Cassie Harrelson with any questions.

Colorado Teacher of the Year Nominations Now Open

Each year, the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program honors an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled K-12 classroom teacher to represent the entire profession in the state. The selected teacher will automatically become Colorado’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition. Do you know an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled K-12 teacher here in Colorado? Nominate them to apply for the 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year award!

NEA Foundation COVID-19 Response Grants Available

In response to educators’ emerging needs, addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning, the NEA Foundation is offering three new grant opportunities. Grant guidelines for a COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant, including the criteria and timelines, can be found at the NEA Foundation website. Proposed projects must address educational inequity and educational opportunity gaps. There are three rounds of applications that end May 14th, May 28th and June 11th.

Tell Your Story to CEA

Are you an educator or do you know an educator making an exceptional impact on their students, parents or community? CEA wants to know what our members are doing, in this time of social distancing, that’s making a difference in their students’ lives. Go to CEA’s Tell Your Story page and CEA Communications will get in touch with you or the member to highlight their accomplishment in the media, our social media, and the CEA Journal member magazine. Spread the word and let us help your members share their wonderful stories.

Lunch Break with Amie & Kevin

This week, Amie & Kevin talk about the Governor earmarking $500 million to K-12 and things you can do to stand up for public education.

As always, if you have content ideas, or if you have a colleague who goes above and beyond and needs a shout out or if you have ideas on how we can improve the CEA Today, please drop us a line at ceatoday@coloradoea.org.