Filling shortage areas, expanded mortgage incentives and new guidelines for current and retired teachers included in bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: STEPHEN SIDORAK, (860) 933-8100
Hartford, Conn.—Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass Senate Bill 1022 An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention by a unanimous vote of 150 to 0. ConnCAN is proud to have worked with the governor and legislature to develop and advance this set of policies with broad bipartisan support. Governor Lamont has indicated he will sign SB 1022 in the coming weeks.
ConnCAN Executive Director Subira Gordon said: “This bill is the result of years of hard work and commitment by the Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force and the CT Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. It’s exciting as SB 1022 tackles both education and workforce issues. Studies show that students respond positively, both academically and socially, when exposed to a diverse teaching corps. This legislation makes an impact, today, as Connecticut has the opportunity to fill positions that are currently available. Welcoming teachers of color to classrooms in Connecticut can have a multiplying effect as more students become inspired to enter the profession.”
SB 1022 includes the following sets yearly targets for net increases of minority teachers and administrators (250 per year of which 30% are men). Additionally, the bill:
- re-examines certification reciprocity agreements with all 50 states and simplifies credit requirements for teacher candidates in shortage areas
- allows teachers with lapsed licenses to re-enter the workforce through a more streamlined recertification process.
- provides mortgage assistance for teachers who graduated from colleges and universities that traditionally serve minority students (eligibility will be expanded for a current mortgage assistance program under the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).
- Expands allowance for retired teachers to be re-employed for up to a year in (1) a school located in a priority school district or (2) a teacher shortage subject area.
Sections 262-263 of the state budget “establishes,” “expands,” or “includes funding for” a minority teacher loan forgiveness program within the Office of Higher Education; the budget includes funding of $250,000 in both FY 20 and FY 21 for this purpose.
Gordon added: “As America faces a growing shortage of teachers from diverse backgrounds, Connecticut will be proactive and recruit high-quality candidates. While nearly half of our public school students are children of color, fewer than one in ten teachers are — this bill is a step in the right direction and we will continue to support minority teacher recruitment efforts going forward.”
While some municipalities in Connecticut have made minority teacher recruitment a priority, this is the first time the state will enact such a comprehensive effort. The State Department of Education (SDE) must develop and implement strategies with existing resources.
The SDE commissioner annually designates shortage areas in subjects where there are not enough available qualified teachers. Current examples include bilingual education (pre-K through 12th grade), math (7-12) and science (7-12).
Throughout the session, legislators have overwhelmingly supported SB1022. The State Senate passed the bill on consent on Tuesday, May 28. It was introduced by the Education committee earlier this year and passed the Appropriations committee by a vote of 46 to 2. The bill is set to take effect July 1, 2019. The annual minority hiring goal is effective upon passage.
Gordon added: “I give my deepest appreciation to Education Committee co-chairs, Senator Douglas McCrory and Representative Bobby Sanchez, for their leadership on this issue. It is an honor and a privilege to work together.”
A full analysis of the bill can be found here.
About ConnCAN: ConnCAN is leading a movement to improve education outcomes for Connecticut’s kids. We bring advocates, policymakers, parents and educators together to change the system and give all kids access to the great public schools they deserve. Learn more at conncan.org.