New legislation could solve Colorado’s teacher shortages

A new bill in Colorado's legislature could tackle the current teacher shortage, but some say that it's only a temporary solution.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 3:32 PM MST
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DENVER, Colo. (KKCO) - Teachers in Colorado say they are being flattened by high workloads, large class sizes, and low funding. Eighty-five percent of Colorado educators say that the current teacher shortage is the worst that they’ve ever seen, according to a survey by the Colorado Education Association.

Dave Lockley, a middle school teacher and president of the District 12 Educators’ Association, says that the consequences of a teacher shortage are straining teachers. “We have classrooms that have not had a full time educator this entire school year. Not only does it exponentially increase the workload when we’re short educators, it also really lowers the individualized attention we can give every one of those students,” said Lockley.

A new bill in the state legislature could provide teachers the relief that they need by having Colorado join the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact. The move is fully supported by the CEA. “Anything we can do like this to provide ways to eliminate that educator shortage is a positive thing,” said President of the CEA Amie Baca-Oehlert.

Baca-Oehlert says that the compact is meant to make it easier for teachers to take jobs out of the state where they are licensed, effectively expanding their license to a few other states. “Our hope is that when we have something like this enacted it will allow us to start the school year fully staffed to maintain people in those positions all throughout the year,” said President Baca-Oehlert.

Lockley says the bill would get more teachers here faster and easier, but it’s a temporary fix at best. He hopes the perception of the teaching field changes so others will want to make it a career. “We need to talk about education with all of its greatness. Not saying there’s not growth, but we need to lead with greatness and then say, ‘here’s how we can be better,’” said Lockley.

The bill has been pass by the Colorado House, and now it sits on the Senate floor.