POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Where the Democratic presidential candidates stand on Colorado issues

Ahead of the state’s presidential primary on Super Tuesday, the Democratic candidates talk health care, marijuana, education, public land and beer

Reporting:

Design:

 

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IMPORTANT VOTING INFORMATION

Q: TEACHER PAY


 

Q:

How would your administration address education problems facing Colorado, such as money for rural schools and low teacher pay?

Background: The teacher protest movement that spread across the country starting in 2018 led to pay raises in some communities. But the profession as a whole remains in a state of crisis, with shortages so acute -- and pay so unattractive -- that some communities are recruiting teachers from foreign countries. In Colorado, many teachers work second jobs or live in travel trailers to make ends meet, and state lawmakers are focused on how to help boost the wages offered by local school boards. Federal help could be a boon in a state that has struggled to raise revenue for schools and has huge disparities from one district to the next.

 

Triple funding for Title 1 schools

A: His education plan states he would triple funding for schools with low-income students and require districts to use the money to make educators’ pay more competitive. He also pledged to work with states to offer universal preschool education -- a top priority of Colorado’s governor -- but it’s not clear what help the federal government would provide.

 

 

 

Get teachers to a $60,000 base salary

A: The candidate’s plan to spend more on education includes teacher raises and a base salary of $60,000, as well as expanded teacher tenure and money for classroom materials. He would also allow states like Colorado to adjust the salary upward to address the local cost of living. Sanders also wants to provide free school meals to all students year-round and end the profit motive for charter schools.

 

 

 

Make collective bargaining easier for teachers

A: Warren said the key to increasing teacher pay is to make it easier for teachers to join a union and collectively bargain. She supports legislation to help public employees unionize that includes voluntary deduction of fees from paychecks. In addition, Warren wants to use federal dollars to encourage states to spend more money on education and revamp how they fund schools. One of the goals is to increase teacher salaries and pay for paraprofessionals and other education sector workers. The senator would also ensure classrooms are well-equipped so teachers don’t need to pay out of pocket for supplies. For rural areas, she supports offering residency programs to boost teacher recruitment and health care services to help students focus on learning.

 

 

 

Create schools focused on career, technical education

A: Bloomberg said increasing teacher pay and helping recruit a quality, diverse workforce is a priority. He plans to use incentives to address teacher shortages in rural areas and create new schools to focus on career and technical education. As mayor, Bloomberg battled with teachers about pay raises and often butted heads with teacher unions.

 

 

 

Send federal matching dollars to raise teacher pay

A: As part of his education plan, Steyer wants the federal government to match every additional dollar that states put toward increasing teacher pay until educators are paid like skilled professionals. He also supports student loan forgiveness for teachers after 10 years of service. On a broader level, he pledged to double federal spending on education from pre-kindergarten through high school, investing $100 billion over 10 years to upgrade schools and educational resources.

 

 

 

Focus on district funding equity

A: Earlier in the campaign, Klobuchar said she would send matching federal dollars to districts that agree to boost teacher pay. In terms of rural schools, she wants to help states study how to make funding more equitable.

 

 

 

Canceling student loan debt for rural teachers

A: The candidate has pledged to provide affordable daycare and preschool as part of a $700 billion investment, as well as increase funding for low-income schools to boost teacher pay. Buttigieg supports canceling student loan debt for teachers, particularly those who work in rural areas.

 

 

The Issues


Pick a card to see stances from the candidates.


 

The Candidates


Click a candidate to see where they stand.


 

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Former Vice President and U.S. Senator   

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

Former New York Mayor and businessman   

x Pete Buttigieg

x Pete Buttigieg

Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (Campaign suspended 3/1/20)   

x Amy Klobuchar

x Amy Klobuchar

U.S. Senator from Minnesota (Campaign suspended 3/2/20)   

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont   

x Tom Steyer

x Tom Steyer

Businessman and climate activist (Campaign suspended 2/29/20)   

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts