Teacher Pay, Shorter Weeks, Testing Gaps: The Challenges Colorado Students Face This Year

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Photo: School Innovation | Christina Jean - JBrundin
Consultant Christina Jean helps Stedman Elementary 4th grader Leyana Musiwa with reading as part of the school's innovative model of instruction called "Launch Stedman." The 4th and 5th grades comprise a "school within a school," aspiring to create more culturally responsive, whole-child learning for a smaller group of students.

A new school year brings individual challenges to students. But in Colorado, there are a few issues that schools all across the state will grapple with in 2018-19. CPR News education reporter Jenny Brundin talked to Colorado Matters about the big issues in education.

Schools are experimenting with new ways to save money, and the first major urban district, 27J in Adams County, even adopted a four-day week. It’s a move only rural districts have made so far. While there's a teacher shortage across the state, it's the most severe in dramatically lower-paying rural districts.

As the economy and future jobs continue to transform, schools are also switching up graduation requirements. In Park County, there will be three different tracks for graduation depending on whether a student wants to go to a four-year college, a community college or into the workforce.

The previous year’s standardized test scores are also in, and there remain large gaps between white students and students of color, as well as low-income families and their higher-income peers.