Public education professionals in Colorado, unlike many other states, are free to join or not to join an employee organization. There are various unions and professional associations from which teachers can choose, including the following:

Professional Association of Colorado Educators
Christian Educators
American Federation of Teachers, Local 858
Colorado Education Association
Homeowners Insurance Plans and School District Employee Coverage

Teachers also may consider pursuing one or more variations of the local-only union option.



The Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE) is a state-based affiliate of the Association of American Educators (AAE) as of July 2007. AAE is the largest national non-union professional association, offering many of the same benefits that other teacher organizations provide—but at a fraction of the cost. AAE provides professional liability insurance, legal protection and professional development resources but without getting involved in partisan politics and controversial issues. In fact, AAE will never support or endorse any political advocacy, candidacy or cause.

PACE is the premier professional teachers’ association that advances the profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting educational excellence, so that its members receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve. Professional membership is available for students, retired educators, and associate members. Contact PACE for more information on costs and membership benefits.

Professional Association of Colorado Educators
9800 Mount Pyramid Court, Suite 400
Englewood, CO 80112
Telephone: 720-895-1980
Toll Free: 877-640-7223 (PACE)



Christian Educators, formerly CEAI, is a leader in promoting the rights of religious persons in public education and in providing benefits for educators (including professional liability insurance). Their mission is to serve the educational community by encouraging, equipping and empowering Christian educators in public and private education.

There is no Colorado Christian Educators chapter, but teachers can join the national organization. Contact Christian Educators for more information on membership costs and benefits.

Christian Educators



The American Federation of Teachers was founded in 1916 to represent the economic, social and professional interests of classroom teachers. It is an affiliated international union of the AFL-CIO. AFT Colorado was organized as the Colorado Federation of Teachers, and was chartered October 26, 1946.

The vision of AFT Colorado is a federation of locals in which all members join together to pursue professional, political, and social issues that benefit their personal lives, their communities, and the institutions in which they work. Through political action and the bargaining process AFT Colorado promotes the issues of secure employment, a living wage, dignity in the workplace, equality of opportunity for advancement and improvement of standard of living.

Contact AFT Colorado for more information on membership costs and benefits.

AFT Colorado
925 S. Niagara Street
Denver, CO 80224-1681
Telephone: 303-947-6709



The Colorado Education Association (CEA), stands for reducing class sizes, making schools safer, securing technology resources, and increasing school funding. Local associations advocate at the local school board, while full-time lobbyists work at the Legislature and in Congress, along with member lobbyists from local affiliates. Full-time professional members pay combined dues to CEA and the National Education Association (NEA), with additional dues costs varying for local associations.

The CEA funds and supports campaigns to elect lawmakers and school board members, to fund 527 political committees, and to pass local (mill levy and bond) and state ballot issues. Each member’s refundable Every Member Option contributes to the CEA’s political activities. No political contributions to the NEA are refundable.

Contact CEA directly for more information on membership costs and benefits.

Colorado Education Association
1500 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203
Telephone: 303-837-1500

Check with your insurance agent about adding liability coverage to your homeowners’ policy.

Check with your school district about liability coverage that your employer may have already purchased.

This information made available as a service of the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center. If we have omitted any membership options available to Colorado educators or have posted any inaccurate or outdated information, please let us know so we can take care to update our pages.


42 thoughts on “Membership Options
  1. […] encourage teachers to take action one way or the other. It just points out their options (including membership in CEA), something that appears quite threatening to the JCEA […]

  2. […] in union money. However, the important thing to remember is that Colorado teachers still have membership options. Commemorating freedom is what this whole weekend is about, after […]

  3. […] who don’t prefer this confrontational approach can always afford to be reminded of their membership options — especially during this time of […]

  4. […] reform initiatives on the 2008 state ballot, including a Right-to-Work amendment (which ironically, Colorado teachers already have) and an Ethical Standards amendment backed by my friends at the Independence […]

  5. […] well, it’s not exactly like that. It’s not like some union that I can join or that will automatically take hundreds of dollars in dues money each year. In fact, it’s […]

  6. […] to two ballot measures: a Right-to-Work amendment for private employees (despite the fact Colorado teachers themselves have Right-to-Work protections) and the Ethical Standards amendment, which would have kept school districts and other government […]

  7. […] 7, 2009 by ceapathways Attention, Colorado teachers and other public education employees: Do you belong as a member (or as a non-member fee-payer) to the Colorado Education Association? If so, how much do you know […]

  8. […] and other education employees in Colorado of course have a variety of professional and union membership options from which to choose. Many of those options allow teachers to join or to drop out throughout the […]

  9. […] 21st century customer service. Especially for organizations with roughly 35,000 member employees, growing competition, and a deck that’s grown slightly less stacked in its […]

  10. […] 21st century customer service. Especially for organizations with roughly 35,000 member employees, growing competition, and a deck that’s grown slightly less stacked in its […]

  11. […] union model to a true professional guild? Colorado public school teachers thankfully have membership options, and small progress is being made in other states in the forms of local-only unions, faculty […]

  12. […] exist – like good charter schools, Republicans who support public education, and workers who freely choose not to join a union. [link […]

  13. […] who said teacher opinion was monolithic? That’s why it’s a great thing teachers here in Colorado have membership options, including the union and including the AAE’s state chapter: the Professional Association of […]

  14. […] of Colorado Educators (PACE) — a young, small, but growing (Hey, sounds like me!) non-union teacher membership organization — this week released the results of a member survey on some key education policy issues […]

  15. […] in classrooms rather than for union officials’ leave time? What about giving teachers a fair choice of unions and other organizations that have equal opportunity to use district communication systems and facilities? What about […]

  16. […] members’ “dues equivalency” opt out requirements — as well as the existing membership options that many are not aware of. For more information on HB 1333, the Professional Association of […]

  17. […] union officials seem so threatened by teachers wanting more basic fairness and respect in their professional membership options that they go out of their way to make life miserable for those who disagree with them. But […]

  18. […] provisions in state and federal law, not to mention their continued access to support from various membership options. Even if there’s no collective bargaining agreement. But what would an agreement look like if […]

  19. […] provisions in state and federal law, not to mention their continued access to support from various membership options. Even if there’s no collective bargaining […]

  20. […] in Douglas County, it’s incumbent on us to do our part and help make teachers aware of their membership options to empower them as professionals. PACE is one such option, and it’s growing quickly in […]

  21. […] teachers are more privileged than their counterparts in many other states because of the extent of membership options available. While it’s extremely difficult to tell the precise causes of Colorado’s […]

  22. […] According to Fordham’s new rankings, Colorado ranks 35th in teachers union strength. Yet one is left to wonder what would happen to that ranking if teachers had a level playing field of information to go along with their increasing membership options. […]

  23. […] For those who don’t know, a Right-to-Work law like the one being protested here simply guarantees that an employee cannot be forced to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment. Radical stuff, huh? Twenty-three states have preceded the Big Labor hotbed of Michigan in embracing this kind of workplace freedom. And other states have Right-to-Work in limited spheres — such as here in Colorado, where teachers have some true membership options. […]

  24. […] in popularity, PACE is one of the membership options available to Colorado educators through the Independent Teachers […]

  25. […] savings to comprise the whole package of reform, it’s certainly better to give teachers more options rather than fewer. If that choice is a beneficial one, you probably don’t have to be bullied […]

  26. […] That certainly sounds unfair, doesn’t it? I can see why it’s hard for groups to let go of control and share access to the different ways teachers can be reached with information. Here in Colorado a lot of the same policies exist that make it more difficult for hard-working educators to know about their membership options. […]

  27. […] Association of Colorado Educators (PACE) — one of Colorado teachers’ professional membership options — today highlighted some interesting results from their latest member survey, showing that […]

  28. […] does this mean for K-12 education? Colorado teachers have true membership options. However, some local unions charge teachers who don’t opt out of membership each year on […]

  29. […] definitely celebrate this National Employee Freedom Week is the fact that Colorado teachers do have membership options — including the right to join nothing at all. But in many cases, a teacher can’t always […]

  30. […] It took me awhile to realize that “engagement” referred not to a status of someone who is planning to get married but to active effort, dedication, and focus on classroom responsibilities. Examples of engaged teachers include those featured in this great new 3-minute video by PACE, one of the growing membership options for Colorado teachers: […]

  31. […] I think the shamers should be ashamed for harassing K-12 employees who simply exercised a choice. But the behavior also may go a long way to explaining why that choice was made. Here in Colorado, we can’t recall seeing incidents quite like that. Teachers already have the right to join or not to join a union or professional organization. […]

  32. […] An up-close-and-personal look at union logic might persuade more professional Colorado teachers to look more closely at their membership options. […]

  33. […] not sure exactly what Jeffco and Denver are doing to make spaces available for other membership options for teachers, though I hope they are receptive and provide equal […]

Leave a Reply