Educator Shortage

Career Changes, Early Retirements, Fewer New Teachers

Educators love their profession and value supporting students in their learning — it’s why they chose the profession to begin with. But we are at a crossroads: Will we attract and retain the very best educators for our students? Or will we make the educator shortage worse?

Schools are dangerously understaffed.

An October 2021 review of Colorado school districts’ websites shows that there are more than 3,300 open positions in our public schools – 1,125 licensed and 2,251 support professionals. October survey respondents weighed in on their own schools’ shortages and more than a third had open licensed positions and positions filled by emergency licensed employees or long term substitutes in their school. Four out of five had open education support professional positions in their school and almost as many say the substitute shortage is significantly worse than previous school years. Understaffing is putting student learning at risk.


Estimated number of open positions in our public schools as of October 2021

Overworked educators are leaving the profession.

More than two-thirds (67%) of CEA’s surveyed members in October indicated that they were considering leaving the profession in the near future. Alarmingly, this is a 27 percentage point increase from the 40% of members who said the same thing just last December. These educators most often point to their overwhelming workload and low pay as the reasons to leave and they are considering career changes and early retirement.

Pie chart showing 67% of CEA members who took the October 2021 survey were considering leaving the profession

What Educators Are Saying

We don’t have bus drivers yet. This is impacting families and students. We don’t have cafeteria staff. This is impacting families and students and student behavior (the food we do have is all prepackaged with low nutritional value). Sub shortages are impacting SPED support.

What Educators Are Saying

“Special education staff often get pulled to cover these open jobs which impacts services to our COVID-impacted population of students.”

What Educators Are Saying

“Our intervention team is being pulled to sub. Some of my most critically in need kids aren’t getting the support they desperately need.