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State Senator

James Maroney

Representing Milford, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge

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Maroney Votes for Bill to Expand Employment Opportunities for Teachers of Color in CT

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HARTFORD, CT – Today, state Senator James Maroney (D-Milford) voted in support of legislation to provide expanded access and opportunities for people of color to become teachers at Connecticut schools. The legislation passed the state Senate by a bipartisan, unanimous vote. Sen. Maroney, who co-sponsored this legislation, said this is a much-needed step towards closing the state’s achievement gap.

“I am thrilled to see this legislation pass the state Senate,” said Sen. Maroney. “Research shows that students of color that have just one teacher of color between Kindergarten and third grade are seven percent more likely to graduate and 13 percent more likely to enroll in college. Connecticut has one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation, and this provides our state with one of the most cost-effective ways to both narrow the achievement gap and provide opportunities for students of color to succeed in school and beyond.”

Senate Bill 1022, “An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention,” will require the State Department of Education’s Minority Teacher Policy Oversight Council to develop and implement strategies and use existing resources to ensure local and regional boards of education annually hire and employ at least 200 new minority teachers and administrators. The Council must work in concert with the Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force to craft a strategy to reach this goal.

In addition to establishing a minority teacher hiring goal, SB 1022 will also:

  • Expand teacher certification reciprocity with other states
  • Expand the current mortgage assistance for teachers program to include individuals who graduated from colleges and universities that traditionally serve minority students, like Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Provide re-employment to retired teachers who graduated from colleges and universities that traditionally serve minority students
  • Offer flexibility in certain teacher certification requirements
  • Remove subject-matter assessment requirements for teachers seeking to be recertified after their certification lapses in certain cases

According to Educators for Excellence, a nonprofit which advocates for equity in education and minority teachers, in Connecticut only eight percent of teachers are minorities while students of color make up 40 percent of the state’s student population. Additionally, teachers of color tend to provide more culturally relevant teaching, better understand situations students of color face and have a more positive perception of students of color, according to the Center for American Progress.

Prior to passing the state Senate, SB 1022 passed the Education Committee unanimously and the Appropriations Committee 46-2. This legislation now heads to the state House of Representatives for further action. If signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont, this legislation will go into effect July 1, 2019.

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