Colorado Teacher Shortage Reaches 3,000
In Colorado, there is a serious shortage of teachers. Nearly 3,000 teacher positions remain unfilled and there is one major reason for it.
Some teaching positions in Colorado pay as little as $23,000 per year. On average, teacher's in the state make around $26,000, which isn't a lot of money in today's America.
Take a look at the math. The minimum wage in Seattle is $15.00 per hour. If you work 80 hours per pay period your yearly income is around $28,800. How are you going to compete for teachers when you can't offer a decent wage?
Recently, teachers in West Virginia went on strike to protest the low wages paid by that state and were successful in gaining a 5% raise. Given the fact that they were making, on average, only $500 less than Colorado's teachers per year, you can see where things may be headed.
The biggest issue with the teacher shortage is the lack of teachers in rural areas. Not only are they among the lowest paid, there are fewer places for them to live, so you can add housing shortage to the list as well.
The State of Colorado passed legislation to address this issue. House Bill 2017-1003 and its subsequent inclusion in Colorado Revised Statute 23-1-120.9 were passed to not only address those issues, but fewer minority teachers, fewer people interested in the education field, and, as a result, fewer teachers coming from the state of Colorado.
It is hoped that, as a result of this, and the action plan that goes with it, this trend can ultimately be reversed. But in the meantime, teachers retire, teachers take better-paying jobs out of state and half of the teachers that are hired are hired from out of state.
It is hoped that the action plan the state has prepared, that includes better salaries and benefits, will begin to reverse this trend. We will be watching.