Increasing numbers of teachers of color have not kept pace with the influx of Latino students entering Connecticut’s public schools.
This is the conclusion of an investigation by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas of the Connecticut Mirror, an online newsletter that can be found at ctmirror.org
While increases in Latino teachers haven’t kept pace with the number of Latino students, the number of black educators has remained steady although the number of black students has declined.
There are only two minority teachers for every 100 students of color in the public schools of Connecticut. The picture for whit teachers and students is quite different. Last year there were about 17 white teachers for every 100 white students. This is up from a ratio of 12 white teachers for every 100 white students in 2005-06.
Overall, students of color comprise almost half of the students in public schools in Connecticut.
Last year 23 school districts didn’t have a single minority educator on staff, state data show. Among traditional school districts, Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven have the highest rates of minority teachers, with about one-in-four educators being a minority. Some charter schools have higher ratios.
“Many students of color in Connecticut will spend 13 years in school only learning from white teachers” Camara Stokes Hudson, an associate policy fellow at the left-leaning think tank Connecticut Voices for Children, told the state legislature’s education committee earlier this year. “These students will miss out on the academic and social benefits from learning from a teacher who shares their cultures, family contexts, and whom can serve as unique role models.”
She testified that, “Minority teachers have the benefit of raising aspirations for students who look like them.”
Many school districts have been trying to increase the diversity of their educational staffs. But doing so has proved difficult.
One factor is the lack of diversity in the teacher-preparation programs at the state’s colleges and universities.
Of the nearly 2,500 students enrolled in teacher-preparation programs in Connecticut during the 2016-17 school year, 82 percent were white, 4 percent were black, and 8 percent were Hispanic, according to data from the state education department.