Lawmakers assign homework to figure out Colorado's teacher shortage - Colorado Politics
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Lawmakers assign homework to figure out Colorado’s teacher shortage

Author: Dan Njegomir - March 21, 2017 - Updated: June 16, 2017

The House Education Committee endorsed an effort Monday to get to the bottom of the perennial teacher shortages that frustrate wide-ranging school districts across the state.

House Bill 1003, which now goes to the full House for debate and a vote, would task the Department of Higher Education, the Colorado Department of Education, school districts and teachers unions with studying teacher shortages in Colorado, identifying root causes, and recommending strategies for improving the recruitment and retention of teachers in all areas of the state.

A press release from ruling House Democrats quotes the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango:

“The teacher shortage in Colorado has reached crisis mode, particularly in rural areas of the state, and it’s time to reverse the trend…This bill will help us find out what we can do to recruit and retain teachers and move forward with a solid plan of action.”

The press statement notes:

This issue impacts all of Colorado’s schools, particularly those in rural and remote regions of the state. There has been a 24.4 percent decline in the number of educators completing an educator preparation program at Colorado colleges and universities between the years 2010-2016. Because each area of the state has different needs, the plan will incorporate unique solutions for rural, urban and suburban school districts.




Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is a blogger and opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.


  • Robert Chase

    March 21, 2017 at 10:56 am

    The State should demand proficiency rather than licensure — but rather than take any concrete step to try to redeem Colorado’s failed system of public education, we will pretend to study the problem some more.


  • Tannim

    March 21, 2017 at 11:13 am

    The shortage is because the entangling of the state with local education issues is costing the local districts money to hire better teachers at better pay. Untangle the state from the local education districts and let them run themselves more efficiently and you’ll not only see them hire more teachers, but better teachers for more pay.


    • Robert Chase

      March 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Purest cant and absolute nonsense! “Local control” has already destroyed the academic integrity of public education in Colorado (as demonstrated by the absurd statewide remediation rate of 35% for high school graduates attending State colleges), but crazed ideologues imagine that even more (in the form of demonstrably ineffective charter schools) is the solution. Divest incompetent local school boards of all authority over curricula and halt the fantastic waste involved in their pretending to develop them — that would free up some money to hire teachers. There is no conceivable reason or benefit to maintaining the pretense that local school boards are able to set curricula; at best this represents 259-fold duplication of effort. Your completely insane ideology causes you to stand reality on its head!


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