Recommendations Detailed in Keystone, PEBC ESRII Report Signed Into Law

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law SB21-185, Supporting Educator Workforce In Colorado, June 16 at a signing ceremony at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood. The bill dedicates more than $13 million for educator programs, many of which were drawn from the Education System Resiliency and Innovation Initiative (ESRII).

“We know so many teachers went above and beyond to close the learning gap and adapt to online and hybrid education during the pandemic. This legislation creates more entry points for tomorrow’s teachers,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

The bill aims to increase pathways into the teaching profession by creating a recruitment and preparation program and improves teacher support and retention incentives.

“What I think this bill does is create what I call an educator career highway or pathway,” said Sen. Bob Rankin, a co-sponsor of the legislation who also participated as a member of the ESRII coalition.

Senator Rachel Zenzinger, who sponsored the bill, detailed the background of ESRII and explained how the group’s findings played a critical role in helping craft this legislation.

“From June of 2020 to January of 2021, more than 80 stakeholders from across all of Colorado’s education ecosystem and the private sector met together to talk about what was happening and identify opportunities and learning from the challenges that were presented by COVID. And from this they published a report that detailed a number of recommendations that they brought to this work. Some of which we incorporated into this bill,” said Senator Zenzinger.

Representative Julie McCluskie, another co-sponsor of the bill and participant in the ESRII coalition, also lauded Keystone for the work of ESRII.

“I want to congratulate [Keystone Policy Center] and their leadership and the work that happened to make this bill come to life,” said Rep. McCluskie. “[They] helped lead a moment when we could see nothing but gray clouds and doom because of the pandemic. They said here is an opportunity to see how our education system responds to what’s going on in the world. It’s a chance for us to capture new innovative ideas, creative thoughts about how we could be doing education better.”

Listen to the Keynotes podcast episode below to learn more about the Education System Resiliency and Innovation Initiative.