Lakewood, CO — Thursday, October 8 – Karla Esser, a former public school teacher and recently retired Director of Graduate Programs for Licensed Teachers at Regis University has pledged to fight to increase the diversity in our classrooms, where currently, Colorado suffers a lack of diversity in our teaching force.
“We can do better. Our teachers should reflect the diversity of the classroom. We have not met the standard in Colorado and part of that is because we rank 51st in teacher pay,” stated Karla Esser, Democratic candidate for the Colorado State Board of Education.
In Colorado, the State Board of Education (SBE) determines the rules for teacher licensure and oversees school accountability. When public schools are not performing well according to the state and federal required standardized testing, the SBE has the sole right to determine next steps for a particular school or district.
Reports show that nearly half of Colorado’s students are students of color, but 87% of Colorado’s teachers are white. Of the state’s 178 school districts, 130 dont have a black educator and one-third do not have a Hispanic educator in the classroom.
“National Hispanic History Month is a time to pay tribute to Hispanics who have given so much back to our community. Educators are at the top of that list” said Val Taapken, a parent with four kids attending The Academy Charter School. Ms. Taapken explained, “Teachers serve as role models for our students. I support having stronger diversity in the classroom and more educators who mirror our family.”
A Colorado State University study estimated 54,000 students in Colorado don’t have internet access at home — and nearly 40,000 of those students were Hispanic. Meaning, online learning during the current crisis is nearly impossible for those families.
“We have a lot of work to do on the State Board of Education, and I know my record of working in both Colorado and German Public Schools — and at Regis University, will allow me to roll my sleeves up to collaborate and get things done for Colorado families,” said Esser.