Colorado Teacher Retention and Recruitment
A good education is one of the keys to success in the 21st century economy.
But Colorado children aren’t getting the education they deserve because far too many of our schools face crippling teacher shortages. Schools are taking unscheduled days off, switching to virtual learning and, in some cases, asking teachers to cover their colleagues’ absences, all because there aren’t enough qualified teachers for everything. the world.
Colorado students have faced a teacher shortage for years, and the problem has only worsened during the pandemic. I’ve heard from parents, teachers, and administrators across the state that lately, instead of being a bright light for students in Colorado, too many of our teachers are completely burnt out.
This is unacceptable. Our most important job as General Assembly leaders is to provide a brighter future for our children, and that starts with making sure teachers have the support they need.
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I come from a long line of educators and chose to continue my family’s legacy by becoming a teacher myself. I was inspired to step into the classroom to have the kind of impact on students that I have seen possible throughout my life – to serve as a positive role model for our children, to nurture and guide them. in the right direction, and to set them up for success.
Teachers play a huge role in the lives of our children, and while I’ve seen firsthand the impact teachers have on their students, I also know the challenges that come with the job. That’s why, as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, I work every day to improve classroom conditions so students, families and teachers can thrive.
As we continue to recover from the pandemic, our schools are at a turning point. We can either continue to bully our children and our teachers, or be creative and find ways to bring new teachers into the profession and revitalize the workforce so that every student receives the attention and the education he deserves.
That’s exactly why Colorado Democrats passed Senate Bill 21-185, my bill to support Colorado teachers with new recruitment and retention strategies. This bipartisan legislation attracts more teachers to Colorado classrooms and helps make those teachers more like the students they teach.
This new teacher recruitment and retention program will help create jobs and train more, better-trained Colorado teachers. This will help cover tuition for people looking for a new career as our economy recovers from the pandemic. And with this program, qualified Coloradans — such as veterans and new college graduates — will receive the resources and support they need as they transition into their new roles as educators.
Additionally, local leaders will be able to draw on their own experiences and connect with their communities to recruit and hire people who better match the needs and changing faces of their communities. Currently in Colorado, 9% of teachers are people of color, while 46% of students are black, indigenous or from communities of color.
My bill helps to correct this imbalance, resulting in better outcomes for students and for communities.
Student success goes hand in hand with teacher success. There is still work to be done to get our schools and students back on track following the pandemic, and this is a step in the right direction. Colorado Democrats are committed to ensuring that our teachers can thrive in the workforce and in the classroom and that every student in our state can thrive.
Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada represents the 19th Senate District in the Colorado General Assembly. She chairs the Senate Education Committee and is a fifth generation teacher.
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