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Colorado's Educator Shortage Survey Results

Overview

As part of the strategic action plan developed in response to Colorado House Bill 17-1003, the Colorado Department of Education surveys the state’s school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) about the employment of teachers, special services providers (SSPs), and starting with the 2019-20 survey, principals/assistant principals and paraprofessionals. The Educator Shortage Survey Results include the facts about the number of vacant educator positions and the ways those vacancies were filled, if they were filled at all. These shortage data allow CDE to identify educator shortage areas across the state and report to the Colorado Legislature to inform decisions regarding support for recruiting and retaining educators.

Information regarding 2020-21 Educator Shortage Survey results, including the survey results summary, highlights, and additional details is available below.  Summaries of prior year shortage survey results (2019-20 and 2020-21) are also available.

Summary Survey Results

View a summary of the 2020-21 state-level educator shortage results with data provided separately for teacher, SSP, building leadership (principal/assistant principal) and paraprofessional positions. Data are also presented by teaching subject area, SSP type and rural designation (small rural, rural, or non-rural, as defined by the Rural Education Council).

Detailed information about the number of positions filled by specific shortage mechanisms (including hiring long-term substitutes, retired educators, alternative licensure program candidates and emergency authorizations holders), the number of positions that went unfulfilled and recruiting strategies used are also available through the interactive dashboard and/or in the downloadable Excel file

Highlights from the 2020-21 state-level summary include:

  • Approximately 8,000 teaching and SSP positions needed to be hired for in 2020-21, representing 12% of all teaching and 15% of all SSP positions in the state. As with 2019-20, the number of open positions was slightly lower than in the preceding school year for both teachers and SSPs in 2020-21. Nearly 300 principal/assistant principal positions and over 1,200 paraprofessional positions needed to be hired for in 2020-2021.
  • Of the 6,910 total teaching positions to hire, 235 (3%) remained unfilled for the school year and 893 (13%) were filled through a shortage mechanism. Reversing the trend observed last year, this represents a slight increase in the percentage of positions that remained unfilled and a slight decrease in the percentage of positions filled through a shortage mechanism from the prior year.
  • Of the 1,061 total SSP positions to hire, 75 (7%) remained unfilled for the school year and 49 (5%) were filled through a shortage mechanism.  The percentage of SSP positions going unfilled remained relatively stable in comparison to the prior year.
  • Of the 294 total principal/assistant principal positions to hire, 5 (2%) remained unfilled for the entire school year and 4 (1%) were filled through a shortage mechanism, representing a slight decrease in the percentages of principals of principal/assistant principal positions unfilled and filled through a shortage mechanism compared to the prior year.
  • Of the 1,228 total paraprofessional positions to hire, 92 (7%) remained unfilled for the entire school year and 15 (1%) were filled through a shortage mechanism.  Though the percentage of paraprofessional positions filled through a shortage mechanism was stable in comparison to the prior year, there was an increase in the percentage of paraprofessional positions that remained unfilled.
  • In core teaching subject areas, shortages of early childhood, mathematics, special education and world language teachers were evident statewide.
  • In SSP categories, shortages of school psychologists, school occupational therapists, school physical therapists, and school nurses were the most common statewide.

Educator Shortage Data for Prior Years

In 2017, in response to Colorado House Bill 17-1003, Strategic Plan to Address Teacher Shortages, CDE and the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) collaboratively collected data to analyze the state’s educator shortage problem via a voluntary version of the survey to develop a strategic action plan.

 

Federally Reported Educator Shortage Areas

Each year, the Educator Talent Division reports educator shortage areas to the US Department of Education in the Teacher Shortage Area report. The Federal data collection is intended to serve three primary purposes:

  • Notify the nation that States and schools may potentially need to hire academic administrators, licensed teachers, other educators and school faculty of specific disciplines/subject areas, grade levels, and/or geographic regions.
  • Serve as a useful resource for recent graduates of schools of education and trained, experienced teaching professionals aspiring to serve school districts with shortages about potential opportunity areas in each state’s and territory’s Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 classrooms.
  • Serve as a useful resource in the process of advising Federal student financial aid recipients of the potential to reduce, defer, or discharge student loan repayments by teaching in certain areas.

The fall 2021 Colorado educator shortage areas reported to the US Department of Education are based on the 2020-21 Colorado Educator Shortage Survey results. They are reported as statewide shortage areas and rural-only shortage areas, and according to content/endorsement area and SSP area in the list below.

Statewide Educator Shortage Areas

Content/Endorsement Area

  • English as a Second Language/Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Special Education Generalist
  • Special Education Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Special Education Visually Impaired
  • World Languages

SSP Areas 

  • School Nurse
  • School Occupational Therapist
  • School Physical Therapist
  • School Psychologist
  • School Social Worker
  • School Speech-Language Pathologist

Rural-Only Educator Shortage Areas

  • All teacher content/endorsement areas
  • All SSP areas

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