To get a better sense of Colorado’s teacher shortage, state officials are hitting the road.
Officials from the the Colorado Department of Education and Department of Higher Education will cross-cross the state this summer for a series of town halls. The idea is to gather information that will help them craft a plan to reverse the trend gripping many of the state’s schools.
State lawmakers earlier this year passed legislation calling for such a plan, which is due by the end of the year.
Colorado’s traditional teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities have seen enrollment numbers drop significantly. Between 2010 and 2016 there was a 22.7 percent drop in the number of people completing preparation programs at Colorado colleges and universities.
Current teachers also are leaving the profession at a steady clip.
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Some teaching jobs get no shortage of applicants. The shortage is pronounced in rural schools, while Front Range schools struggle to fill teaching positions in certain grades and subjects — for example, high school math and science.
The first town hall meeting is Wednesday in Ridgway, about 40 miles northeast of Telluride on the Western Slope.
Here’s a list of other scheduled town halls:
- Parachute – June 23
- Fort Collins – July 28
- Denver – July 31 or August 1 (TBD)
- Leadville – August 2
- Colorado Springs – August 7
- Otis – August 10
- Ignacio – August 14 or 15 (TBD)
- Limon – August 17 or 18 (TBD)
- Las Animas – August 21