Calls to break down more of the structural barriers that keep Black educators out of the classroom were picking up steam as the country observed National Teacher Day on Tuesday. In Connecticut, House representatives unanimously passed a bill Monday to instruct the state’s Department of Education to recruit and retain more teachers of color, the Connecticut Post reported.
The bill has been seen as a great ground-breaking step for Connecticut, a state in which non-White teachers make up just 7 percent of the state’s public school faculty according to the state Commission on Equity and Opportunity. The measure was crafted to modernize the state’s educator certification processes, help develop private partnerships to increase recruitment and intervene where necessary in local board of education’s efforts to prioritize hiring teachers of color. Getting Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s signature would be the last step to pass the measure after the state’s House and Senate approve it.
The bill would also help to spur diversity among the state’s student body. Non-white students are about a third of Connecticut’s school population, the state’s Equity and Opportunity Commission said.
But Connecticut representatives are far from the only group that has made positive strides to improve recruitment efforts for Black educators ahead of Teacher Appreciation Week, which ends Friday. Other groups have also taken note of Black teachers, who bring a diversity of thought and culture to the classroom that helps children of all races realize their potential.
The National Network of State Teachers of the Year recently released videos titled “Courageous Conversations About Race in Schools” intended to spark dialogue about how to improve the representation of people of color as teachers and in other official capacities at schools. More efforts are needed to infiltrate the White bubble in education, with 80 percent of U.S. teachers being White, according to research cited in the New Pittsburgh Courier.
Other statistics showed that Black students outnumber Black teachers, according to the Belleville News-Democrat, which published an editorial pushing for more educators of color last month.
Teachers with a range of racial representations can help stop negative, discriminatory patterns and would likely force schools to confront topics such as the lack of encouragement and resources that would help Black students want to become teachers; the criminalization of Brown-skinned students in schools; and the barriers to their high academic performance including on certain tests and assignments in lower-performing school districts nationwide.