On June 5, 2019, The Journal Inquirer published an article by Will Healey regarding passage of Senate Bill 1022 An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention and mentioned ConnCAN:
HARTFORD — The House unanimously passed legislation Tuesday that aims to increase the number of minority teachers employed in Connecticut schools.
The legislation, proposed by Gov. Ned Lamont and Democratic legislators, passed the Senate on May 28 and now heads to Lamont’s desk for signature.
In a statement applauding the legislation, Lamont said that more than 40 percent of the state’s student population are people of color, while just 8.7 percent of the state’s public school teachers are people of color.
“Numerous studies have shown that students of color do better in school when they have teachers of color in the classroom, however our state has overwhelming disparities and should be doing more to ensure diversity in our schools, including among faculty,” he said.
Lamont thanked both chambers for voting favorably on the proposal and “sending it to my desk so that I can sign it into law.”
The bill calls for the state Department of Education’s Minority Teacher Recruitment Policy Oversight Council to develop strategies and use existing resources to ensure local and regional boards of education annually hire at least 250 new minority teachers and administrators, 30 percent of whom must be men.
The bill also expands eligibility for the state’s mortgage assistance program for certified teachers to include teachers who graduated from an educational reform district — the 10 lowest performing districts in the state — or a historically black college or university, or a historically Hispanic-serving institution.
It also expands current law allowing a school district or state college or university to re-employ a retired teacher for up to a year without a pension penalty or salary limit to also include any teacher who graduated from an education reform district, a historically black college or university, or a historically Hispanic-serving institution.
The bill requires the state education commissioner to expand teacher certification reciprocity with other states, calls for increased flexibility in certain teacher certification requirements, and removes subject-matter assessment requirements for teachers seeking re-certification after lapses in certain cases.
Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, said the bill was extremely important for minority students, as well as all students.
“Minority teachers are not just good for children of color, they’re good for all children,” she said.
Rep. Patricia Wilson Pheanious, D-Ashford, spoke from personal experience about the impact on students she had as a black woman who headed a college program. She said that from 1981-91, when she was director of the Center for Child Welfare at St. Joseph’s College, there were no minority students in the program when she first started. Over time, however, that changed, as did Wilson Pheanious’ understanding of why.
“I began to understand they were coming because they saw someone at the head of a program who looked like them, and that said to them, ‘I can do this, I can go to graduate school, I can be successful,’” she said.
Subira Gordon, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, said the legislation was the result of years of hard work by the Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force and the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.
“Studies show that students respond positively, academically, and socially when exposed to a diverse teaching corps,” she said. “This legislation makes an impact today as Connecticut has the opportunity to fill teaching positions that are currently available.”