Gov. Ned Lamont is proposing a series of financial incentives and a reciprocity program with neighboring states as part of his incentives to recruit more minorities into the ranks of Connecticut public school teachers.
Speaking at an event held at Bridgeport’s Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport to promote House Bill 7149, An Act Bolstering Minority Teacher Recruitment, the governor noted that people of color account for 8.7 percent of public school teachers and administrators, although nonwhite students make up more than 40 percent of the student population. Lamont highlighted potential incentives including state-financed mortgage assistance and student loan debt forgiveness as strategies to bolster the presence of nonwhite teachers within the public education system.
“Most students who graduate from college are thinking about how to pay off their student loans,” 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 governor also raised the idea of a series of reciprocity agreements between the Connecticut Department of Education and counterpart agencies in New York, New Jersey and the New England states that would changes several certification and recertification statutes in order to increase parity between in-state and out-of-state applicants.
House Bill 7149 is now being considered by the General Assembly’s education committee.