Colorado Department of Education

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Colorado has the fourth worst teacher pay gap in the country. A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute found Colorado teachers make 35.1 percent less that other workers living in similar parts of the state with similar education.

The paper tracks teacher pay since 1979, when they made about 5.5 percent less than comparable workers nationally. By 2017 that gap had grown to 18.7 percent.

Courtesy of Hope4_2Morrow

A Colorado-based suicide awareness organization has released their first public service announcement aimed at stopping teen suicides.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Sarah Marsh is a preschool teacher who works with four- and five-year-olds at a school in Erie, Colorado. She loves her job.

"The moment where a kid first zips their zipper is amazing," she said. "They feel so powerful, they can do it themselves and they just have this look and it feels so cool to be there."

But what Marsh doesn't love is the pay.

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This week, the Department of Education released results from the 2018 statewide assessments, along with the academic growth summary, providing some insight on how students, schools and districts are doing compared to their cohorts.

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It's back-to-school time and parents, teachers and students are busy shopping for supplies. But according to a new report some of these products contain toxic chemicals that could be harmful.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

According to experts, one of the biggest factors is pay. In 2016, the state ranked 46 in the nation for average salary. Rural schools have an even harder time recruiting because the pay is often lower than urban areas and there's not much of a hiring pool.

"If you lose a teacher, there's nobody that you can just snag from the community to keep up," said Democratic Rep. Barbara McLachlan, a former educator.

Bente Birkeland / KUNC

Thousands of Colorado teachers converged on the state Capitol Thursday and Friday to demand more funding for public education, higher pay and a more favorable fix to the state’s pension plan for public employees.

“For too many years, Colorado has been chronically underfunding its schools,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, vice president of the Colorado Education Association. “We educators see what that means to our classrooms and our buses and our cafeterias.”

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

A group of teachers stood outside Webber Middle School in Fort Collins before the first bell rang on Monday. They were dressed in red and holding signs with phrases like ‘Education Benefits Everyone’ and ‘My 2nd Job Bought This Sign.’

The teachers were participating in a citywide walk-in to show support for public education.

“We’re not out here to say we need more money because we want to be millionaires, you know,” said Jason Nurton, who teaches reading and an outdoor living class at Webber. “We’re out here saying, ‘give us what we need to do the job.’”

Eric Litwin

“Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown” is the 2018 One Book 4 Colorado winner. The book, chosen specifically for 4-year-olds, was announced by Gov. John Hickenlooper at the state Capitol this week.

At the event, Hickenlooper told a group of preschoolers that he wants to make sure they know how to read and grow to love reading.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Angel Martinez reviews geometry and algebra problems on his laptop in preparation for a math test. Martinez, 17, was a senior at Jefferson High School in Greeley, but he didn’t have enough credits to graduate this May.

At his pace, he wouldn’t get his diploma until 2020.

“I was falling really behind on my school work,” he said. “What I needed was more teachers’ attention on me because sometimes I would have trouble in assignments and all that.”

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