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Colorado facing teaching shortage

CC0 Public Domain

In Colorado, the teacher shortage is growing larger each year with rural districts struggling the most to fill teaching positions.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is in need of around 3,000 new teachers, but the graduation rate from teacher-preparation programs has declined by close to 25 percent over the past five years.

Rural districts with average teacher salaries of just under $23,000, which is $14,000 less than the state average, have the most difficult time filling teaching positions because the marked difference in pay makes it difficult for smaller districts to compete with other industries or larger school districts. And the seclusion of rural schools may be the biggest drawback for many new teachers.

Adding to the problem - about a third of Colorado teachers are 55 or older and approaching retirement.

There are currently two bills in the state legislature designed to address the state’s teaching shortage - one that would require state agencies and school districts to identify the reasons behind the shortage and another that would allow retired teachers to collect their entire pensions while working.