Category Archives: Diversity Resources

Articles and research on diversity in education

Connecticut Laser-Focused on Educator Diversity

Since 2017, school districts in Connecticut have hired more than 1,900 educators of color, surpassing the goal set by the State Board of Education in its five-year strategic plan.

According to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), a wide range of evidence supports the benefits of a diverse educator workforce. Benefits include gains in student achievement as well as lower dropout rates and higher college admissions.

Multi-Pronged Approach

Since achieving its goal, the CSDE has been implementing a multi-pronged approach to further diversify the educator workforce in the state’s public schools. Key initiatives include the following:

A Guidebook for Hiring and Selection prepared by the CSDE provides support and guidance to help school districts increase the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of their educator workforces. 

An Enhanced Educator Certification Reciprocity Policy streamlines the processing of certification of educators who hold valid and active out-of-state certification. This is expediting efforts to recruit diverse, high-quality educators from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. 

NextGen Educators gives undergraduate educator candidates the opportunity to work in school districts to gain valuable experience and gives districts immediate access to new talent while addressing staffing shortages.

Educators Rising introduces middle- and high-school students to careers in education. In the 2021-22 school year, the program has nearly 500 students enrolled in clubs and courses in 22 schools in 19 mostly urban districts, which have high numbers of students of color. 

The Male Educator Network (MEN) initiative, a subset of Educators Rising, focuses solely on young men of color with an interest in careers in education. Currently, there are two pilot sites located at E. Hartford High School and New Britain High School.

TEACH Connecticut supports aspiring educators with free, one-on-one support, financial aid resources, information on educator-preparation programs, and more. In year three of the program, TEACH CT supported more than 500 applicants, 41 percent of whom identify as people of color and 39 percent of whom want to teach in a subject shortage area.

Connecticut Troops to Teachers aims to address teacher shortage areas, increase the number of male teachers of color, and reduce veteran unemployment.

The Minority Teacher Recruitment Policy Oversight Council is developing strategies to attract middle- and high-school students to careers in education, encourage college students of color to enroll in educator-preparation programs, recruit educators from other states, and more. 

Virtual Career Fairs are held in partnership with Regional Education Service Centers (RESCs). Invitations are sent to certified teachers of color who are not currently teaching, recent graduates of Connecticut educator-preparation programs, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-Serving institutions. 

RESC Regional Consortia enable diverse local educators to convene and develop workforce diversity plans that address attracting, recruiting, hiring, supporting, and retaining educators.

The EdKnowledge Online Repository hosts promising practices and models of success to retain educators of color. 


Educational Pathway for Future Teachers of Color

Connecticut is seeing results from the Teacher Residency Program, which the state launched in 2019 to increase educator diversity.

Gov. Ned Lamont recently met with state and local officials at an elementary school in New Britain to celebrate the program, one of numerous initiatives in Connecticut to bring more teachers of color into the state’s classrooms.

New Britain Superintendent Nancy Sarra welcomes Gov. Lamont and other state officials to Northend Elementary School.

“I think our schools are great. . . because we celebrate our teachers,” he said. “We love our teachers. We let our teachers teach, and we show the respect we need to generate and attract the next generation of teachers. “

Pathway to Teacher Certification

The Teacher Residency Program provides a pathway to teacher certification to individuals with bachelor’s degrees, many of whom are working in schools in non-certified roles, such as para-educators.

These individuals take college courses for 18 months (summer and evenings) and work for one year side-by-side with a mentor teacher while earning pay and benefits. They become eligible for a full-time, elementary teaching position in a partner school district upon completing the program and certification requirements.”

Program Is Growing

The program began in 2020 with 11 residents, including Blacks, Latinos, and mixed-race individuals. Since then, the class has grown to well over 40 residents including Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, whites, and mixed-race individuals serving in several schools.

“The data says all children in this country learn better when they’re taught by a diverse teaching population,” said State Senator Douglas McCrory. “So, if we want to be one of the best states in this country or educating our children, we need to follow the data and make sure we diversify our classrooms.”

As of the 2023-2024 school year, over 11 percent of the state’s public-school educators were persons of color. State leadership wants to make more progress as students of color account for over half of the state’s public-school students.

Subsidized Loans for Teachers in Highest Need Districts

Gov. Ned Lamont has signed a bill into law that will subsidize interest rates on loans to teachers who commit to teaching in one of Connecticut’s highest need school districts.

Gov. Ned Lamont signs the bill accompanied by Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker, Rep. Jason Doucette, and Rep. Tom Delnicki.

The loan subsidy program is among state initiatives to address persistent shortage areas and support the recruitment and retention of teachers in districts that typically experience high turnover. This is one of the steps being taken to build an educator workforce that reflects the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of Connecticut’s students.

CHESLA, the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority, will administer the Alliance District Teacher Loan Subsidy Program. The 33 Alliance Districts are those with the highest need for state support.

Gov. Lamont was joined by educational leaders and legislators who spoke a signing ceremony at the State Department of Education (SDE) in Hartford.

Dr. Shuana Tucker welcomes attendees to the State Department of Education.

Dr. Shuana Tucker, chief talent officer at the SDE, noted the progress made in recent years in diversifying the state’s educator workforce. During the past five years, Connecticut school districts have hired 1,900 educators of color, increasing the number of educators of color from 8.3 percent to 10 percent.

 “While we have made progress in our diversification efforts, there is still more to be done,” Dr. Tucker said. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to continue addressing barriers that may prevent some from pursuing or entering the education profession.”

Before signing the bill into law, Gov. Lamont said, “By establishing this student loan subsidy program, we are building upon and accelerating our efforts to cultivate and support the next generation of highly effective and diverse aspiring educators.”

Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker praises the law.

Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said, “The Connecticut State Department of Education has made it a priority to make sure that our districts and schools are able to recruit and hire high-quality educators who are reflective of our increasingly diverse student body.”

Jeanette W. Weldon, executive director for CHESLA, said, “This legislation is an example of the unique way that CHESLA can impact workforce and community development. As the state-affiliated student lender in Connecticut, we can share the benefits of our low-cost funding with state residents in ways that also benefit Connecticut communities and school districts.”

The Alliance Districts are Ansonia, Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Bristol, Danbury, Derby, East Hartford, East Haven, East Windsor, Groton, Hamden, Hartford, Killingly, Manchester, Meriden, Middletown, Naugatuck, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Norwich, Putnam, Stamford, Thompson, Torrington, Vernon, Waterbury, West Haven, Winchester, Windham, Windsor, and Windsor Locks.