DENVER, CO – The House Education Committee today passed legislation to prepare students for success and address the teacher shortage by saving new educators money on preparation programs.
“This has been an incredibly challenging year for students, teachers and parents, and one way we can prepare our students for success is by making sure that every classroom has a qualified educator,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins. “Our legislation will address the educator shortage by saving educators money as they go through their preparation programs and by removing unnecessary red tape that makes it harder to become a teacher in Colorado.”
“All across Colorado, and especially in rural areas, schools are struggling to attract and retain quality educators,” said House Education Committee Chair Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “To prepare our students for success, we must address the educator shortage that is impacting our districts. That’s why we are going to save prospective educators money on their preparation programs and practice exams and create new pathways to enter the educator workforce.”
HB22-1220 passed by a vote of 8-1 and is sponsored by Representative Cathy Kipp and House Education Committee Chair Barbara McLachlan. The bill includes multiple strategies to address the teacher shortage to help ensure every student in Colorado has access to high quality public education that will prepare them for success. The legislation creates two stipend programs that will save student educators almost $20 million as they pursue the educator preparation programs. It also creates new options to assess prospective educators and allows more prospective educators to obtain temporary educator licenses, breaking down unnecessary barriers to enter the educator workforce.
The bill expands opportunities for all teacher candidates and reduces red tape. It would make student teaching a paid position for income-eligible students. These educators would no longer need to work second or third jobs while finishing their teaching programs. The bill also creates a stipend program to pay for teacher competency exams, which can cost educators hundreds of dollars while they complete their licensure program. The bill expands the measures used to examine competency, creating a new pathway to initial licensure for prospective educators that expands how prospective educators can prove their competency.
The legislation builds on laws passed in recent sessions to address the educator workforce challenges, such as SB21-185, which invested $15 million into two new programs to recruit and retain educators. It also follows on bills passed earlier this session to encourage retired educators to return to school districts.