Sen. Daugherty Abrams Votes for Passage of Legislation to Support Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Connecticut


HARTFORD, CT – State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams (D- Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire), voted in support of legislation to bolster minority teacher recruitment and retention in Connecticut, create a plan to encourage high school students to enter the teaching profession, and address implicit bias in the teacher hiring process. Senate Bill 1034, “An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention” moves to the state House of Representatives for further discussion and action.

"As a former educator I am proud to support this piece of legislation that will not only increase opportunities for minorities hoping to become educators, but also strengthen our education system as a whole," said Sen. Daugherty Abrams. "The impact of having a teacher who looks like you cannot be understated. In addition to a profound understanding between students and teachers of color due to shared experiences, each and every minority teacher is an example of what students of color can achieve if provided with access to reach their goals. It is also true that diversity among teachers benefits all students and the entire school community."

Senate Bill 1034 will strengthen efforts to increase diversity in Connecticut’s teacher workforce so that it reflects the numerous backgrounds of the state’s student population, while creating pathways to good-paying careers that are central to a young person’s academic achievement.

More than 40 percent of Connecticut’s student population are people of color. However, people of color make up less than 10 percent of the state’s public school teachers, according to the governor’s office in 2019.

The three main components of the bill are:

Establishing the Minority Candidate Certification, Retention or Residency Year Program

Senate Bill 1034 would create the minority candidate certification, retention, or residency year program. The state Department of Education (SDE) would administer the program and it would begin in fiscal year 2022 (i.e. 2021-22 school year) and continue each following year.

The overall program administered by SDE would help minority candidates – a person of color who is employed as a school paraprofessional or an associate instructor with a local or regional board of education – enroll in a residency program with the goal of becoming full-time, certified teachers once they have successfully finished their residency program. Additionally, the overall program managed by SDE would assist local and regional boards of education hire and retain the minority candidates who graduate from their residency program.

The residency program would be a State Board of Education approved certification program. In addition, the program would have participating candidates:

  • Serve in a role that would otherwise need professional certification and would be a full-time position for a period of 10 school months in a school district
  • Be supervised by a certified teacher or administrator, along with a supervisor from a regional educational service center (RESC). As an alternative to a supervisor from a RESC, a private, nonprofit teacher or administrator overseeing the certification program could serve in that role

A board of education participating in the residency program may hire a minority candidate situated in their school district following the candidate’s successful conclusion of the program.

Starting with fiscal year 2022, the bill would require that each board of education for an alliance district partner with a RESC or private, nonprofit teacher or administrator operating a residency program to sign up candidates and situate them in the school district as a participant in the residency program.

Hartford, Bloomfield, and Windsor were among the 2019-2020 SDE list of alliance districts.

Starting with fiscal year 2022 and each year after, SDE would reserve from an alliance district 10 percent of any funding increase the district received for that fiscal year that is above the amount it received for fiscal year 2020. SDE would use those reserved funds for distribution to the alliance districts to cover costs of the residency program.

An alliance district’s board of education may apply to SDE for funds to cover expenses associated with the aspects of the program. Allowed uses by the participating board of education for the funds distributed by SDE include: signing up minority candidates into a residency program, certification process for the program’s minority candidates, hiring of the candidates who have successfully finished a residency program, and retaining them as certified teachers in the school district.

Develop a Plan to Promote Teaching as Career Path to High School Students

Under Senate Bill 1034, the commissioner of the state Department of Education (SDE), the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, and the dean of UConn’s Neag School of Education would collaborate to create a plan to help local and regional boards of education encourage high school students to consider teaching as a career option.

The developed plan would include avenues for boards of education to partner with educator preparation programs in Connecticut and establish counseling programs for high school students to learn about the teaching profession.

In addition, SDE would have to provide boards of education information promoting teaching as a career by September 1, 2021. The distributed information for school counselors and students would include materials on programs in Connecticut regarding educator preparation and alternative route to certification. Also, the information would have to be available on the SDE website.

Video Module Training Addressing Implicit Bias and Anti-Bias in Hiring of Teachers

Senate Bill 1034 directs the state Department of Education (SDE), in consultation with the Minority Teacher Recruitment Policy Oversight Council and State Education Resource Center (SERC), to create a video training module covering implicit bias and anti-bias in the hiring process. The module must be created and available for school district personnel by July 1, 2022.

This bill would require that any local board of education employee involved in or responsible for the teacher hiring process in the school district to complete the video module training before they can participate in the hiring process. This requirement goes into effect for the school year starting on July 1, 2023 (i.e. 2023-24 school year).