Inflection Point: Addressing Colorado Teacher Shortages

Education Policy Networking Series logoWe have good evidence that high-quality teachers are the most important factor we can address to improve student outcomes.  But what happens when there aren’t enough teachers?

After a rough recession for teachers, with plenty of layoffs since 2009, we are back to a situation of shortages in Colorado.  There have long been shortages in specific areas – ELL, some STEM, special ed – and now there are more widespread shortages.

CPR recently addressed this issue.  We are excited to go into more depth on this topic at our monthly Education Policy Networking series on Tues., Oct. 20 (details below).

When economists hear the term “shortage of workers,” they think: just pay the workers more.  A shortage of workers is also occurring in other areas of the labor force these days, with construction workers in booming Denver, with restaurant workers and with truck drivers, for example.  Evidence does suggest that increased demand for workers drives up wages somewhat, though sometimes not as much as would be expected.  For teachers, salaries are more complicated since collective bargaining and fairly fixed salary schedules (even under more “pay for performance”-like approaches) limit salary flexibility in the short run.

Teaching in Colorado: Who wants the job? And, who stays and who leaves?

As in many other states, Colorado faces a shortage of teachers, especially in certain disciplines and in specific regions.  And, great teachers are also in short supply.  Colorado’s teacher turnover is also disturbing, particularly in the first few years of teachers’ careers. Our panel will examine state-wide trends and focus on teacher recruitment and retention in urban schools.  What is behind recent trends, and what is being done to strengthen—or perhaps even to rethink—the profession of teaching ?

When: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 – 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Where: Terrace Room (Second Floor)
1380 Lawrence Street, downtown Denver

Light refreshments will be served to encourage networking before the panel.  Time will be reserved for audience questions as well.  The program is free, but space is limited!  Please RSVP HERE.


Jennifer Bacon – Managing Director, Alumni and Community Engagement at Teach for America

Karen Lowenstein Martinez – Senior Consultant, Educator Preparation at Colorado Department of Education

Robert Mitchell – Academic Policy Officer for Educator Preparation at the Colorado Department of Higher Education

Laney Shaler – Associate Director for Denver Public Schools’ New Educator Development.                

Moderator:  Peter Huidekoper, Coordinator, Colorado Education Policy Fellowship Program

Categories: Commentary

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