(April 16) – A pair of bills to address the statewide teacher shortage passed the House today.

HB18-1189, sponsored by Reps. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, and Lang Sias, R-Arvada, creates a pilot program to expand residencies, in which aspiring teachers are paired with experienced mentor teachers in the classroom.

“We need to continue to look at creative solutions to address the teacher shortage in Colorado,” Rep. Pettersen said. “This bill will strengthen partnerships between teacher preparation programs and ensure better outcomes for kids.”

HB18-1002, sponsored by Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, specifically addresses rural school districts, where the teacher shortage is most severe. The bill creates a fellowship program for fourth-year education majors to teach in rural districts for a year. Upon successful completion of a fellowship, the rural school district would offer the graduating fellow a job.

“We need to have qualified teachers in every classroom in Colorado,” Rep. Hamner said. “This bill will help rural school districts to attract and retain teachers and give them the tools they need to succeed.”

HB18-1002 and HB18-1189 passed by identical 53-10 votes and will go to the state Senate.

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