State launches program aimed at finding teachers, educators in wake of declining numbers nationwide

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DENVER – The Colorado Department of Education has started a new program called TeachColorado aimed at finding and hiring teachers and educators for schools in the state.

“We’ve had a global teacher shortage for years,” Colleen O’Neil, the Associate Commissioner of Educator Talent for the department said. “The US has 100,000 fewer graduating teachers than we actually need.”

O’Neil said the department understands a teacher shortage can come from lack of pay or support but they believe this specific shortage is blamed in part because of a tough year of having to teach during the pandemic.

“Covid has been a huge factor,” O’Neil said. “People are afraid of being in the classroom and getting ill or their spouse or family getting ill.”

The Colorado Education Association (CEA) stated 40% of teachers responded in a survey that they are considering leaving the profession after this school year.

“I am so thankful for everyone who is strong enough to stay cause of my grandson and all the future generations of kids,” Anjie Julseth, a high school math teacher in Jefferson County School District said.

Julseth said she knows college students who were on the path to becoming a teacher but have decided to pursue a different career.

“Were over worked. I am still working till 10:30 every night plus weekends,” Julseth said.

Julseth said there are several factors that make it tough for teachers including a lack of support from the district, pay, discipline with the students and stress.

“One of my daughters does Postmates and she makes more than me and I have a master’s degree and 28 years in the same job,” Julseth said.

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