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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont: Our Classrooms Should Reflect the World We Live In

(BRIDGEPORT, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today held an event at Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport to highlight a legislative proposal he introduced to recruit more teachers of color into classrooms throughout Connecticut. Joined by leaders in the education field, administrators, teachers and hundreds of students, the governor discussed his goal to increase the number of teachers of color in the state by expanding mortgage assistance and student loan forgiveness, and enhanced reciprocity agreements with other states.

Although students of color account for over 40 percent of Connecticut’s student population, only 8.7 percent of public school teachers and administrators are people of color. Research has shown that classroom teachers are the single most important in-school factor in improving student achievement, and diverse teacher recruitment is of concern for urban, suburban, and rural school districts alike. Students of color in particular demonstrate increased interest and effort in their schoolwork when they see themselves reflected in their teachers.

“Most students who graduate from college are thinking about how to pay off their student loans,” Governor Lamont said. “My bill was designed to continue the important conversation on recruiting more teachers of color, tackle the issue through a variety of ways and the feedback we received was that student loans are the real barrier. Area businesses, including Stanley Black & Decker and Travelers, have stepped up and we need to continue to do the same. This is a direct investment in the classroom and in student success. All students should have access to positive teaching and learning experiences so they can be prepared for the global workforce that awaits them.”

“The research shows that children of color perform at their peak when they have teachers of color,” State Representative Robyn Porter, who serves as co-chair of the legislature’s Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force, said. “However, they are not the only ones that benefit. A diverse teacher workforce advances all students. Yet, too few Connecticut students are exposed to teachers of color who can serve as role models, and as a result, never see education as a career path. This initiative will not only support our mission to recruit more teachers of color but will also inspire educators to live and thrive in the communities where they teach.”

Governor Lamont’s proposal also directs State Department of Education (SDE) to enter into reciprocity agreements with Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey, and makes several changes to the certification and recertification statutes to increase parity between in-state and out-of-state applicants.

“This work has been a priority for both the commissioner and State Department of Education for years, and we understand more work needs to be done,” Sarah Barzee, Chief Talent Officer for SDE, said. “We are happy the governor is making this a priority because all students benefit from having teachers of color in their classrooms and serving as leaders and mentors in their districts.”

The governor’s proposal is House Bill 7149, An Act Bolstering Minority Teacher Recruitment. It is currently being considered by the General Assembly’s education committee.

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