STRATFORD, Conn. -- During a session of the House of Representatives last week, State Rep. Laura Hoydick (R-Stratford) voiced support for a measure aimed at increasing minority teacher recruitment.
The bill delays the termination of the minority teacher recruitment task force, establishes the Minority Teacher Recruitment Policy Oversight Council within the Department of Education and requires the department to conduct an annual survey of students regarding the effectiveness of minority teacher recruitment programs in the state.
“As the student population has changed in Connecticut in terms of the diversity of its population, our teacher and administrator population has not,” said Hoydick. “We need to do a better job of bringing a more diverse teaching population into the state, as well as promote the teaching profession among minority students. This legislation will help us identify ways around the roadblocks local school boards face when they try to enhance their minority teaching staff.”
Hoydick relayed her experiences when she was chair of the Stratford Board of Education. At the time, Stratford’s minority population was between 40 percent and 50 percent, and the board was looking for more diversity among teachers, noting how important it is to be able to learn from people of similar heritage and ethnicity, and to impart an essential sense of community to the students.
She discovered a number of roadblocks to improving minority teacher recruitment. Hoydick said the Task Force will be addressing some of those critical areas that interfere with improving recruitment.
Connecticut continues to have the highest achievement gap between poverty-stricken students and more affluent students of all states in the U.S. For the first time, almost half of students attending public schools in Connecticut are minorities, while 92 percent of certified teachers are white.
The bill, SB 379, An Act Concerning the Recommendations of the Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force, passed the House by a vote of 146-0. It previously passed in the Senate, and headed to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk for his signature to become law.