Colorado families, students win opportunity for better life with passage of Amendment 70

Members of the Colorado Education Association gave of their time and their money to pass Amendment 70, a constitutional amendment to raise the wage of every worker to $12 an hour by the year 2020. Our efforts in the coalition “Colorado Families for a Fair Wage” helped pass the measure on election night, Nov. 8, giving Colorado working families a raise so they can better afford rising rent, health care and other basic costs of living.

“As educators, we are dedicated to helping every student succeed no matter their zip code or their economic situation,” said CEA President Kerrie Dallman. “One of the greatest things we can do as an Association is to help change the lives of our students and their families for the better. We know raising the minimum wage will help thousands of students who live in poverty get a real shot at improving their lives and we’re very pleased the majority of Coloradans agreed with us.”

While a minimum wage is supposed to keep working families out of poverty, the costs of living in Colorado have risen dramatically. The current minimum wage of $8.31 hasn’t nearly kept up and more workers are living in poverty despite holding full-time jobs. Educators saw a real need to support the minimum wage campaign as a learning issue for students.

“We know there is a strong correlation between poverty and student success,” Dallman said. “When kids are hungry, cold and afraid, it is hard for them to learn. With more income, families will be better positioned to meet the basic needs of their children. Students will face less of the stress that takes a real toll on their physical and emotional health, often impeding their ability to achieve academic success.

“Passing Amendment 70 will elevate many families out of poverty and help every student in those families thrive,” Dallman added.

CEA members are proud to have joined the many coalition partners, volunteers and business supporters on this important first step toward an economy that works for all Coloradans, not just the wealthy few.