This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.
Student teachers in Colorado will have access to up to $22,000 in stipends, and teachers who started their careers during the pandemic and stuck to it can get up to $5 in loan forgiveness. $000, under a bill signed into law this week.
Removing Barriers to Educator Readiness is spending $52 million in federal relief funds to recruit new teachers into the classroom and keep them there during a time when schools across the state are grappling with shortages. Fewer teachers were entering the profession before the pandemic, and shortages have only worsened.
“A lot of teachers, people who want to be teachers, are actually dropping out of educator preparation programs because they can’t afford it,” said state Rep. Cathy Kipp, a Fort Collins Democrat. . “They can’t afford to work for free and pay tuition and not be able to get a second or third job.”
Kipp sponsored the bill with fellow Democratic State Rep. Barbara McLachlan of Durango and State Senator Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada, as well as Republican State Senator Don Coram of Montrose.
The new law also covers the costs of testing fees for eligible educators and creates alternative ways to obtain a license for teacher candidates who struggle to pass Praxis exams.
Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill to applause in a ceremony Thursday where he also signed a slew of other education bills, including a major funding boost that hopefully legislators, will lead to higher teacher salaries and make staying in the classroom more attractive.
Learn more at chalkbeat.org.