At Stand Colorado, we believe that a robust, quality, and diverse educator workforce is critical to ensuring that every student has access to a high-quality education. Research has shown all students benefit from having a diverse teaching staff. Research has also shown that students of color benefit tremendously (including better academic performance and increased likelihood of going to college) when there is a more diverse teacher workforce. Yet, many Colorado students may not have a single teacher of color in elementary, middle, or high school. Colorado classrooms have more than 49% BIPOC students, but 86% of teachers are white.
Additionally, we know that a large majority of schools across Colorado are struggling with teacher shortages, limiting the capacity of school teams and hindering the educational experience of students across the state.
Stand Colorado has championed efforts to develop and pass, and now continue to advocate for, innovative policy solutions to address financial and other barriers to educators entering the workforce to ensure an expanded and more diverse educator workforce, which is critical for all of Colorado’s students to experience just and supportive schools.
In 2022, we were proud to champion legislation to remove barriers for educators entering the workforce.
HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation removes barriers in educator preparation to support teacher candidates entering the workforce by supporting teacher candidates by paying them for their student teaching work, removing financial barriers by paying for teacher exam fees, expanding pathways to licensure by allowing multiple ways to demonstrate competency. HB22-1220 was signed into law in 2022.
In 2023, we are supporting the following bills to remove barriers and expand and diversify the teacher pipeline in Colorado.
HB23-1001 Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, a continuation of HB22-1220, expands eligibility for financial assistance and offers loan forgiveness to a larger pool of educators who qualify for state programs.
SB23-087 Teacher Degree Apprenticeship Program creates a teacher degree apprenticeship program as an alternative route to teacher licensure which helps to alleviate the educator shortage. *Bill under review by Stand.
HB23-1064 Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact creates a compact to make it easier for active-duty military spouses to transfer their teaching licenses without further testing, thereby allowing them to teach in Colorado classrooms faster.
Educator and Policymaker Support
“The traditional pathways to teaching are creating artificial barriers to BIPOC teacher candidates from entering the profession in greater numbers. Unpaid student teaching is another barrier that reduces the diversity of the teaching force, requiring some students to take on second and third jobs in their attempts to satisfy the requirements of their programs. Addressing these issues would remove some of the barriers that are keeping Colorado schools from diversifying their teaching staff.” Brooke Sassi, CO Literacy Interventionist
“Ask any administrator in education right now about how recruiting and retaining high quality educators is going, and it will be extremely clear that any and all programs to help find and retain high quality educators should be a top policy priority.” Anthony Abel-Pype, CO Educator
“Every school district in Colorado is feeling the effects of the teacher shortage, and our bill eliminates financial barriers educators face when entering the workforce. Building on the work of last year, our bill expands the pool of educators who can take advantage of loan forgiveness programs and student educator stipends. Colorado’s teacher shortage is dire, and our bill works to get more qualified teachers in classrooms across the state.” Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins
“We’re tackling Colorado’s teacher shortage through a multi-faceted approach, and that includes breaking down financial barriers future educators face while entering the workforce. Teachers across the state have echoed the same concerns; they’re facing considerable burnout and are overworked. In order to get more teachers in classrooms, our bill expands the number of educators who qualify for loan forgiveness and stipend programs. Investing in our teachers strengthens our schools and supports our students.” Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango.