FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: STEPHEN SIDORAK, (860) 933-8100
Hartford, Conn.—Today, the State Senate passed Senate Bill 1034 An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention. The bill passed by a vote of 34-1 and now moves to the House of Representatives.
Among other components, Senate Bill 1034:
- Creates the minority candidate certification, retention, or residency year program administered by the State Department of Education (SDE);
- Requires SDE to develop and make available a video training module that addresses implicit bias for school district personnel involved in, or responsible for, hiring teachers; and
- Requires school district employees involved in the teacher hiring process to complete a video training module on implicit bias and anti-bias in the hiring process.
ConnCAN Executive Director Subira Gordon said: “Senator McCrory’s leadership on minority teacher recruitment and retention has been transformative. Connecticut has, over the last 6 years, chipped away at the systemic barriers that prevented high-quality educator recruits from entering the workforce. SB 1034 addresses key pipeline issues through a residency program model, and developing the precursor to a grow-your-own program. Additionally, we now have anti-bias training for all hiring professionals in education. This will support those individuals to make smart investments in their district talent.”
“I know through my own lived experience as a Black man and an educator the impact a teacher of color can have on all of the students in their classroom. This impact is not just in the classroom but stays with a student, particularly students of color, for the rest of their educational journey. A diverse teacher workforce helps to improve a student’s educational experience. Even more, it assists in challenging implicit biases and helps students be able to see themselves one day as a teacher,” said Sen. McCrory. “This bill benefits the success of our students. At the same time, it seeks to create avenues for people to enter the well-paying, transformative career of being a teacher.”
Gordon added: “Each year, we’re making key reforms to our educator workforce preparation system. This helps us build energy and momentum around the issue, and bring talented individuals into the sector. While the progress may feel slow, at first, it will accelerate as our pipelines develop and cultures shift. This is exciting for Connecticut and for our students.”
Dr. Sana Shaikh, a parent and educator from Farmington and 50CAN National Voices Fellow said: “It is an incredibly powerful experience to see people in power that look like you and reflect your values and background. I wished I had teachers that I could relate to as I was growing up and grappling with what it means to be a person of color in this world.”
Currently serving as Director of School Operations in Springfield Public Schools, Dr. Shaikh completed her dissertation on the intersection of racial identity and relationships in developing culturally responsive classrooms. She has two masters, one in Urban Studies from Johns Hopkins and one in Social Policy and Management from Brandeis University. Her PhD is in Social Policy and Management from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management.
Dr. Shaikh added: “I have worked in education my entire life and I am so heartened by the progress that we are making when it comes to talking about race, bias, and the power that educators wield when it comes to shaping the lives of their students but we have so much more work to do.”
Today, 49.9% of Connecticut’s public school students are children of color and only 10.1% of Connecticut’s educator workforce are people of color. The legislative session ends Wednesday, June 9th.
About ConnCAN: ConnCAN, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, 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.