Connecticut Gives Boost to Minority Teacher Recruitment

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed two bills into law to advance minority teacher recruitment and training in Connecticut.

According to a report in The Hour newspaper of Norwalk on August 8, Public Act 15-108 creates an 11-member task force to study and develop strategies to increase minority teacher recruitment and retention. The task force also will ensure that cultural competency instruction is included in teacher preparation programs and in-service training for educators.

The legislation also allows the State Board of Education to grant temporary, 90-day certificates in teacher shortage areas. And the law will enable Connecticut to enter into teacher certification reciprocity agreements with other states, making it easier for teachers from other states to earn certification in Connecticut.

Strengthening Teacher Preparation

The other law, Public Act 15-243, is aimed at improving the effectiveness of teacher-preparation programs in Connecticut’s colleges and universities.

The act requires the Office of Higher Education to submit a report on the quality of teacher-preparation programs leading to professional certification. It also revises the clinical, field or student-teaching experience requirement for teacher preparation programs.

Both bills passed unanimously in the state Senate and House of Representatives.

High Priority to Education

Jennifer Alexander, CEO of ConnCAN, a state education advocacy group, endorsed both bills.

“We are pleased that Gov. Malloy and the state legislature prioritized Connecticut students and educators this year by passing legislation that will help bring diverse and high-quality educators into our schools and prepare all our educators for the work ahead,” she said.

“Research shows educator effectiveness has more impact on student achievement than any other factor within a school’s control,” she said. “These bills go a long way towards ensuring our state is able to attract and recruit highly effective and diverse teachers and administrators and that we continue to push for rigorous educator training and preparation.”

8 Percent Minority Teachers

A ConnCAN study released in March revealed that 92 percent of Connecticut’s 36,823 public school teachers are white. The study reported that 3.5 percent of the state’s public school teachers are Hispanic, 3 percent are black, 1.1 percent are Indian and 0.13 percent are listed as other.

“Right now, the richness of diversity in our student body is not mirrored in our teacher and school leaders,” Alexander said. “Almost half of Connecticut students are students of color, but only 8 percent of our teachers and 12 percent of our administrators are people of color.”

Scott X. Esdaile, president of Connecticut Chapter of the NAACP, said, “The passing of this legislation is a clear indication that our state leaders are committed to better preparing our highly qualified teachers for the job ahead and enhancing the educational experience for all our students.”