Despite the recent population boom, the state of Colorado is facing a shortage of qualified and experienced teachers. In a bold step, state officials are considering pressuring Colorado lawmakers to put legislation on the table that would tie teacher salaries into the local cost of living factors.
Officials considering the push include personnel from the state department of education and higher education. The group is putting together a list of proposals that would address many of the challenges facing the Colorado education system and its lack of highly-qualified teachers. The move for minimum salaries is only one of over a dozen recommendations in the proposal but is one of the more hotly debated. The list of proposals was requested by some lawmakers also contains recommendations on an innovative marketing campaign with scholarships to help draw new teaching talent to the state.
Though the Colorado Department of Education won’t fully divulge to the public the full list of recommendations yet, they have already briefed the State Board of Education on the proposed requests on a December 1 deadline. The report itself is based on thousands of surveys and responses from students, teachers, and Colorado residents. The surveys and responses were used to address many failings in Colorado classrooms including the loss of teachers. Colorado has seen a 24% drop off in students graduating from traditional teaching colleges in the state. There’s also been a 23% drop in enrollment in teaching programs in the state overall.
Colorado could become one of the first states that legislates what teachers get paid in reflection to their local environment and its cost of living. The draw is to help teachers live comfortably in expensive Denver metro areas and for more teachers to become interested in rural teaching. Many current Colorado teachers cite the cost of living in their school district as a major obstacle in staying in Colorado school districts. It will likely be after the new year before any of the proposals are addressed in a state congressional session.
Do you think Colorado needs to pressure lawmakers for better teachers? What if it comes at the expense of the taxpayer? Let us know what you think in the comments section.