The Colorado Department of Higher Education this week doled out a combined $300,000 to seven colleges and universities to fund programs aimed at fighting huge teacher shortages at the state’s rural school districts. The money comes from a federal grant and is being funneled to those colleges that have forged relationships with Colorado’s 147 rural and small rural districts, said Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the CDHE. The efforts will focus on recruiting local residents to become teachers, offering rural field experiences for teacher candidates and expanding professional development for teachers and administrators in high-need areas. Some rural districts have gone for years without permanent teachers in key subject areas, including math, science and special education, education officials say. A recent report from the CDHE said Colorado sees about 5,000 educator openings a year, but supply has not kept up with demand. Since 2010, enrollment in and completion of educator-preparation programs have declined by 24 percent and 17 percent, respectively, and nearly a third of Colorado educators will be eligible for retirement over the next several years. Compounding the problem is that Colorado loses about 16 percent of new teachers within their first five years in the classroom. Low… Read full this story
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