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This morning, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law SB23-087; bipartisan legislation to get more teachers into classrooms by creating a teacher apprenticeship program.

Colorado State Capitol. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Sponsored by Senator Janice Marchman (D-Loveland), and Rep. Cathy Kipp (D-Fort Collins), and co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Baisley (R-Woodland Park), and Rep. Don Wilson (R-Monument), SB23-087 allows the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to create an apprenticeship program that builds on elements of existing alternative teacher licensure programs.

It would include a requirement that the apprentice hold a bachelor’s degree, complete training programs approved by CDE, and structured on-the-job training.

“As a middle school math teacher, I know how critical a quality education is for our kids – but right now there aren’t enough teachers to meet demand, and students and families are suffering as a result,” said Marchman. “This bill will help address those shortages and will provide hard-working Colorado school staff the hands-on training and experience they need to step into teaching jobs and provide our kids with the quality public education they deserve.”

“Getting more qualified teachers in classrooms is one of our top priorities, and I’m proud to say we’re knocking down barriers to entering this important career field,” said Kipp. “Our bipartisan law works to address Colorado’s teacher shortage by providing people with paid hands-on training and experience they need to step into teaching roles and provide our students with the high-quality learning opportunities they deserve. Dedicated educators prepare our students for success, and this law creates a pathway for future teachers to begin the career of their dreams.”

According to information obtained from the Colorado Education Association, teacher and staff shortages remain a huge problem in Colorado’s schools. Some 85 percent of educators say that the teacher shortage is significantly or somewhat worse than in previous school years.

Of course, in some school districts such as Woodland Park, a recent exodus of teachers has been brought about by some radical changes on the Woodland Park School Board, as well as a change in the school superintendent who has made changes to curriculum without notifying teachers, as well as limited teachers’ free speech, preventing them from commenting about the changes in their work environment and school curriculum.