(March 24) – A bill sponsored by Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, to create a plan of action to address the teacher shortage crisis in Colorado earned initial approval from the House this morning.

“This bill is really good for kids,” said Rep. McLachlan. “It asks for a strategic plan to be completed to determine why teachers are not applying to teach in Colorado schools or applying for teacher education programs. The teacher shortage in Colorado has reached crisis mode. We need to do something about it – it’s time to make a plan.”

HB17-1003 requires the Department of Higher Education, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education, school districts, and other education associations, to study teacher shortages in Colorado, identify root causes, and recommend strategies for improving the recruitment and retention of teachers in all areas of the state.

This issue impacts all of Colorado’s schools, particularly those in rural and remote regions of the state. There has been a 24.4% 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.

The bill proceeds to a recorded third reading vote.

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