DENVER (KDVR) — State legislators are working to bring more teachers to Colorado with a new bill that aims to address Colorado’s current teacher shortage.
HB 23-1064 would make it easier for out-of-state teachers to obtain their teaching license in Colorado.
“We are consistently hearing from teachers that they are strapped for money and time, so hopefully it would eliminate one of those barriers,” Rep. Meghan Lukens, one of the bill’s sponsors, said.
Lukens said out-of-state teachers have to go through a lengthy and sometimes expensive process to obtain a teaching license in Colorado.
HB 23-1064 establishes the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, which would create an agreement between Colorado and 10 other states where licensed teachers can obtain and easily transfer a teacher’s license from state to state.
“This is an effort to save time and money for teachers who want to come here and to obtain a Colorado teaching license,” Rep. Mary Young, one of the bill’s sponsors, said.
Bill could help military families who relocate
Lukens and Young both said they’re aware of the other issues impacting teachers, like affordable housing and compensation, but they hope this will help teachers looking to make the move to Colorado.
“We wanted to eliminate one of the barriers for out-of-state teachers to be able to move to the state of Colorado and streamline the process to get high-quality teachers into our state,” Lukens said.
Tim Matlick, a former teacher and the current executive director at Jefferson Academy in Broomfield, said the pandemic took a huge mental and physical toll on their educator workforce, but they’re slowly returning back to normal.
“For a while, I think it was a sense of duty that was carrying them through the pandemic, and now we’re really starting to see that spark come back,” Matlick said.
If passed, Young said HB23-1064 would send a message to teachers, especially for active military and military spouses, who often relocate.
“They can look to Colorado and say, ‘They’re really inviting me in by having this compact for teachers,'” Young said.
The bill passed in the House by a vote of 46-16. It now heads to the Senate for review.