Under a bill put into law this week, student teachers in Colorado will be able to receive stipends of up to $22,000, and teachers who began their teaching careers during the pandemic and yet remained with them will be eligible for up to $5,000 in debt forgiveness.
While many schools in California are experiencing teacher shortages, the Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation initiative will use $52 million in federal relief funds to help new teachers get started and stay in the classroom. It has been more difficult to find qualified instructors since the pandemic struck.
According to Democratic state representative Cathy Kipp, “a lot of teachers, people who want to be teachers, actually drop out of educator prep programs because they can’t afford it.” A second or third job is out of the question if they’re working for free and paying tuition at the same time. Democrats Barbara McLachlan of Durango and Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada, as well as Republican Don Coram of Montrose, all joined Kipp in sponsoring the legislation.
Additionally, the new legislation covers the price of test fees for qualified educators and provides alternate licensing options for those who have difficulty passing Praxis exams. At a ceremony on Thursday, Governor Jared Polis signed the measure to cheers while simultaneously signing a plethora of other education legislation, including a significant funding boost that legislators believe would lead to better teacher pay and make remaining in the classroom more appealing. The session also included the signing of a number of other education bills.