Need To Recruit More Minority Teachers

March 26, 2019

Research shows that children of color perform at their peak when they have teachers of color. But they’re not the only ones who benefit. A diverse teacher workforce advances all students.

Teachers play a central role in shaping the minds of young people and can have a lasting impact. When students of all races have teachers of color leading them in the classroom implicit biases can be challenged and changed. And that’s critical to the future of our society.

Research shows, however, Connecticut has a long way before we have a racial makeup of educators that reflects the ethnicity of our students and improves their outcomes. With people of color making up more than 44 percent of the Connecticut student population, only about 8.5 percent of the state’s educators are people of color.

Last year we passed legislation increasing the recruitment and retention of minority teachers and this year we have proposed legislation that advances those efforts.

As the co-chair of the legislature’s Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force, I’m encouraged that Governor Ned Lamont and leaders in the House and Senate now are promoting legislation that expands mortgage assistance and student loan forgiveness to attract people of color to educating our children. As a way of recruiting more minority teachers to Connecticut, the governor also has proposed reciprocity agreements with the New England states, New York and New Jersey.

Certified teachers who graduate from an Educational Reform district, or a historically black college or university or a Hispanic-serving institution can apply for mortgage assistance through the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority. Changes to the certification and recertification statutes to increase parity between in-state and out-of –state applicants is also being proposed.

All initiatives will not only support our mission to recruit more teachers of color but will also inspire educators to live and thrive in the communities where they teach.

Research has shown that classroom teachers are the single most important in-school factor in improving student achievement, and diverse teacher recruitment is of concern for urban, suburban and rural school districts alike.

If we want to eradicate bias and racism and give everyone an opportunity to succeed, then we have to start with finding more teachers.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns at Robyn.Porter@cga.ct.gov or 860-240-1371.

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