DENVER (CBS4)– A Colorado lawmaker wants to identify the barriers to hiring minority teachers in the state. Rep. James Coleman has introduced a bill that would identify barriers to preparation, retention and recruitment of teachers of color.

(credit: CBS)

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Coleman, a Democrat representing a portion of Denver, also said his bill will consider strategies to increase diversity.

In Denver, 70% of students are children of color while 70% of teachers are white.

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James Coleman

James Coleman (credit: CBS)

Coleman said he didn’t have an African American teacher until he was in the 7th grade.

“So when I went to school and they taught black history, I had an African American principal and administrator, and black teachers, it put things in a different perspective in terms of the importance of education for me,” said Coleman.

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The bill has passed its first committee.