by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)
According to the CT Post, this Monday Connecticut State Representative Patricia Billie Miller (D-Stamford) helped push through an unanimous bill to direct the state Department of Education to take more steps to recruit and retain minority teachers. The Senate previously approved the measure, so it will pass to Governor Dannel Malloy‘s desk for a signature.
Miller, who grew up in Stamford, didn’t have a black teacher until she was in the eighth grade. That teacher helped Miller become a successful student, she said. So years later, Miller was dismayed when her daughter, now 28, also only had one black teacher in Stamford schools. “It helps when you have someone in front of you that looks like you,” the Democrat said Monday.
Although non-white students are approximately one third of Connecticut’s school population, teachers of color are only 7 percent of the state’s public school faculty, according to the state Commission on Equity and Opportunity.
The bill Miller voted in favor of directs the Department to modernize its educator certification processes, develop private partnerships to increase recruitment and intervene where necessary in local board of education’s efforts to prioritize hiring minority teachers.
Lawmakers of both parties noted the diversity of thought and culture that teachers of color can bring to a classroom, benefiting children of all races. “We are providing a deficient education to our children if we are not providing a school system and faculty that reflects this state and this country,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, House chair of the Education Committee.