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A Colorado Bill Would Penalize Teachers for Any Involvement in Strikes

A new bill being considered by the Colorado state senate threatens public-school teachers with fines or up to six months in county jail if they are connected to the participation in or organization of strikes.

The bill was introduced last week by two Republicans, State Representative Paul Lundeen and State Senator Bob Gardner, amid increasing unrest among educators who feel that the state has failed to support its schools.

Data reported by the National Education Association finds Colorado teachers are some of the most poorly compensated in the nation. Average teacher pay in Colorado for 2016 was $46,155—$10,000 below the national average. Colorado ranks 46th in the nation in teacher pay.

Taking a cue from their counterparts in states like Kentucky, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Arizona, teachers in Colorado have led a series of strikes, including a march to the capitol last week, in opposition to low wages and what they claim is a general lack of support. Several school districts have canceled classes for a walkouts planned for Friday.

Although the bill is likely to pass in the Republican-controlled state senate, it should face heavy opposition in Colorado's Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.