The Slatest

Teachers in Colorado Protest for Better Pay as Oklahoma Teachers Head Home Victorious

Demonstrators at the Oklahoma state Capitol building
Thousands rallied at the Oklahoma state Capitol building during the third day of a statewide education walkout on April 4, 2018 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Scott Heins/Getty Images

The teacher protest movement that led to victories in several red states in past weeks has reached the Democrat-led state of Colorado, as hundreds of teachers walked out of their schools and took the the state Capitol on Monday to demand better pay.

Their demonstration came the same day that Oklahoma teachers, who had staged a nine-day walkout, went home victorious after securing nearly $500 million in school funding and an increase in teacher salary of roughly $6,000 on average, according to ABC News. Legislators also passed a law providing raises for support staff in schools and $70 million for supplies.

Colorado teachers, who rank 46th in pay among states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Education Association, are advocating for better salaries and healthy funding increases to match the health of the state’s economy, which is one of the strongest in the country. Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, state lawmakers were to debate a pension reform measure that would cut retirement benefits.

Republicans in the legislature argued that they were already planning on increasing funding for schools. But the teachers said that if the proposed cuts to the retirement plan were to go into effect, younger teachers would not be able to have a full career in the state.

In addition to teachers in Colorado and Oklahoma, educators in Arizona, Kentucky, and, most successfully, West Virginia have walked out from their schools in mass demonstrations.

Correction, April 17, 2018: This post originally misstated that Oklahoma legislators passed a $500 increase in funding for schools. They actually increased school funding by $500 million.