Amend Programs Addressing Educator Shortages
The bill amends and repeals, in part, the existing grow your own educator program to authorize local education providers, including school districts, charter schools, and boards of cooperative services, to establish local grow your own educator programs that give high school students the opportunity to participate in a teacher preparation pathway in which high school students can receive college credit for course work that leads to an education or related degree or credential at a 2- or 4-year institution of higher education. The department of education, in consultation with the department of higher education, shall create a framework for local grow your own educator programs, including the accumulation of transferable postsecondary credit.
As part of the grow your own educator program, the bill creates a grow your own educator scholarship to award $5,000 to students in higher education preparation programs who have completed not less than the final 24 credit hours required for an education or related degree or credential and agree to work as an educator in a Colorado public school upon completion of the degree or credential. In awarding scholarships, the state board shall prioritize students who participated in a local education provider's grow your own educator program while in high school and who complete their final field work in a school of the local education provider. Next, the state board shall prioritize scholarships to students who participated in a local education provider's grow your own educator program while in high school and who commit to teaching in a content shortage area or in a rural area.
The bill amends the teacher of record license to apply to students participating in a Colorado-approved program of preparation and who will be employed with a local education provider experiencing a critical teacher shortage, without the need to show that no other licensed applicant has applied. The bill removes references to the grow your own educator program that no longer apply.
The bill amends the teacher of record program to remove the requirement that a teacher participating in the program must fill a position for which no other licensed applicant has applied.
The bill directs the Colorado commission on higher education, in collaboration with the governing boards and the higher education council, to negotiate statewide degree transfer agreements so that statewide degree transfer agreements are in place no later than 2022 for educator preparation programs, including but not limited to elementary and secondary education; early childhood education; special education; speech and language pathology; occupational therapy; world languages; mathematics; science; and STEM, as defined in statute. Credits accumulated pursuant to a statewide degree transfer agreement apply to the transfer of course work, regardless of whether the course work was successfully completed at a 2-year or 4-year state institution of higher education and regardless of whether the credit is being transferred to a 2-year or 4-year state institution of higher education.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)