HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The student population in Connecticut’s public schools has become more diverse over the years but diversity among teachers and other certified staff is not keeping up.

While more than 40% of Connecticut’s student population are people of color, only 8.7% of the state’s public school teachers are people of color,” Governor Ned Lamont said.

According to the Connecticut Department of Education, there are 51,850 certified staff members in the state’s public school system and 530,612 students. The state’s non-white student population has increased considerably in recent years especially among Hispanics and Latino’s while the white population is down. But the make up of educators does not reflect that change.

The ratio difference between students and educators is mostly reflected in Hispanics and Latinos. In the past five years, that student population has increased more than 20,000, a 17% increase, but the number of Hispanic / Latino educators has only gone up 0.3%. Meanwhile, the white student population has decreased more than 43,300, a 13.5% decrease, while at the same time there has been only a 1.3% decline in the number of white educators.

The Region 16 school district is an example. The district includes the town of Prospect.

More than 12% of the student population is non-white, yet less than 2% of its educators are non-white. The system’s Teacher of the Year, Meghan Hatch-Geary, sees the issue first hand and says there needs for change.

If you are interested in the ethnic educator-to-student-ratio in your city or town you can find that information on the Connecticut Department of Education website.

There are efforts to help balance the ratio. Last year, the state legislature passed a bill to attract more minorities to education. On July 1, 2019, the governor signed an act concerning minority teacher recruitment and retention into law. It calls for at least 250 new minority teachers and administrators, of which at least 30% are men, to be hired and employed by local and regional boards of education each year in the state.

WEB EXTRA: Region 16 school district Teacher-of-the-Year Meghan Hatch-Geary speaks about the imbalance in ethnic diversity in the district

Connecticut’s Largest Teachers Union, the Connecticut Education Association, is also stepping up its efforts to diversify Connecticut’s teaching force by launching a statewide awareness campaign aimed at encouraging more young people of color to pursue careers in teaching.

According to the CEA, the new campaign, Teaching Is Calling You, highlights teachers as role models for their students as well as mentors for young people who may never have considered the positive difference they could make as future educators.