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Colorado touts small and big solutions to roll back state’s teacher shortage

Starting teacher-cadet programs at local schools, forgiving student loans and offering livable wages in rural areas are all ideas being touted by a state education task force aimed at getting more teachers into Colorado’s far-flung classrooms.

The recommendations, assembled at the request of the legislature, also proposes a marketing campaign and scholarships to attract teachers to rural areas where there are severe shortages of instructors in science and special education.

The ideas don’t come with any price tags and put the responsibility of rolling back Colorado’s growing teacher shortage on the shoulders of state lawmakers, local school districts, colleges and universities, and communities, said Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

“Certainly the conversation has to start at the district level as well as the state level,” Hunter-Reed said. “We do not think one group or stakeholder will solve this. It’s a full-court press for everyone.”

The obvious solution is paying teachers a decent wage and putting them on par with other professions, said state Rep. Janet Buckner, who served this year on the House Education Committee.

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