(WTNH) — More than half a million kids and around 50,000 teachers are heading back to public schools in Connecticut this week. And for the first time in several years, there is no anxiety about uncertain funding because the state budget was approved on time.
Governor Lamont joined his new Education Commissioner, in hearing from several high school kids from around the state on Tuesday. They made it clear there is room for improvement.
Wilcox Tech High School senior Eugene Bertrand telling the Governor and the new Education Commissioner, “Here there’s only a total of two African American teachers and I find it very difficult for some students to receive the material that is being taught.”
The new commissioner, Miguel Cardona, who went to the same school saying, “I was where you were, where you are now. I get it, I totally get it.”
Over 40 percent of the student population in Connecticut are people of color, yet less than 9 percent of the state’s teachers are people of color.
Governor Lamont telling the forum, “It’s really important that kids have folks that they identify with and I’ve heard that wherever I go.”
Earlier this year, the Connecticut House voted unanimously giving final passage to a new law, endorsed by Lamont, to encourage and clear the roadblocks to hiring more minority teachers and provide resources.
Senator Doug McCrory (D-Hartford), is a former teacher, that worked for years on the new law and notes, “The research shows that all students, not just students of color, all students achieve their higher levels when they’re taught by a diverse teaching background.”
The Governor says his new Education Commissioner is already doing the outreach to other states to help show recruitment results quickly adding, “We’re going to have more minority teachers, more male teachers in our schools systems starting next year.”
The Governor and the Commissioner also highlighted new efforts to work with local businesses and especially modern manufacturers in workforce development in places like Wilcox Tech and the state’s 19 other tech schools and programs.
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