(March 20) – A bill sponsored by Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, to create a plan of action to address teacher shortages across the state passed out of the House Education committee this afternoon.

“The teacher shortage in Colorado has reached crisis mode, particularly in rural areas of the state, and it’s time to reverse the trend,” said Rep. McLachlan, a former teacher. “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.”

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 7-5 vote sends the bill to the House floor.

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