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State Senator

Doug McCrory

Representing Hartford, Bloomfield & Windsor

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Sen. McCrory: Legislation Establishing A Program to Support Minority Teacher Recruitment and Encourage High School Students to Enter the Teaching Profession Receives Public Hearing

HARTFORD – State Senator Doug McCrory, Senate Chair of the Education Committee, heard testimony in support of legislation to increase the number of teachers of color in Connecticut through certification and training. In addition, the legislation calls for developing a plan to encourage high school students to pursue a career in the teaching profession and establishes a task force to study educator retention and professional development.

“As a former elementary school teacher, I understand the impact a teacher of color can have on the students in their classroom and student population overall. We must work to ensure people of color interested in dedicating their careers to educating our children are supported and trained,” said Sen. McCrory. “This bill supports the goal of the state’s teacher population reflecting the diversity of our state, while developing a plan for school districts to foster future generations of teachers.”

Starting in 2021, Senate Bill 390, “An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention,” would establish a residency program in each alliance district to assist interested people of color in enrolling in a teaching certification program. The enrollee would then be placed in an alliance district on a full-time basis for ten months under the supervision a certified administrator or teacher, plus a supervisor from a regional education service center or administrator operating an alternate route to certification. To cover the costs for this program, the boards of education shall annually allocate 20 percent of the amount of any increase in funds through the alliance district funding over the amount of funds that it received for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

Senate Bill 390 would task The Commissioner of Education, the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and the dean of the Neag School of Education at The University of Connecticut with developing a joint plan to promote the teaching profession as a career path to students in high school. In addition, the plan will lay out how local and regional board of educations could partner with educator preparation programs, and create programs aimed at informing and recruiting high school students to pursue the teaching profession.

The legislation discussed would establish a task force focused on several factors relating to retention and professional development of educators, including improving working conditions to reduce stress and determine if there is a need for a career ladder to support professional advancement in the education system. The task force will submit its findings and recommendations to the Education Committee before January 1, 2021 and on an annual basis until January 1, 2024.

Less than nine percent of Connecticut’s public school teachers are people of color. While, over 40 percent of the state’s student population are people of color. Nationwide, 82 percent of public school teachers during the 2011-12 school year were white according to a 2016 U.S. Department of Education report.

“More than half of our school children are Black and Brown, yet their chances of a seeing a teacher who looks like them is less than one in 10. That is a travesty… Teachers of color make a difference in the lives of our students. Studies have shown they learn better and they learn more. The schoolhouse door may be open to our children as students, but the door to teaching profession remains locked tight,” testified Pastor William McCullough, Founder & Senior Advisor of the Bridgeport-based non-profit FaithActs for Education, in support of Senate Bill 390 at the public hearing.

During the 2019 legislative session, Public Act No. 19-74, “An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention,” passed with unanimous support in the Senate and House of Representatives. Public Act No. 19-74 charged the Minority Teacher Recruitment Policy Oversight Council to implement strategies and apply existing resources with the goal of hiring at least two hundred and fifty new minority teachers and administrators by local and regional boards of education.

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