Initiative to bolster teacher recruitment in the state announced

He plans on proposing a new educator evaluation and support system. Listen in for more details.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 9:35 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2023 at 12:46 PM EDT
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MANCHESTER, CT (WFSB) - State leaders are aiming to strengthen Connecticut’s teacher recruitment and retention efforts.

At the start of the current academic year, the state had 1,200 vacant teaching positions.

Gov. Ned Lamont and education commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker participated in a news conference Thursday morning at Manchester High School where they announced a new initiative:

State leaders announced an initiative to bolster teacher recruitment and retention in Connecticut.

Lamont and Russell-Tucker said the initiative reimagines teacher evaluations and modernizes teacher certifications. It focuses on ensuring that teachers are evaluated on a fair and consistent basis, and that they receive the support they need to improve their skills and knowledge.

The Connecticut State Department of Education’s Educator Evaluation and Support Council has worked collaboratively over the past 20 months to develop an educator evaluation system based on research, best practices, continuous improvement, and focused on educator practice and student growth, Lamont’s office said.

Under the initiative, Lamont said the EES Council will be proposing to the Connecticut Board of Education a new educator evaluation and support system based on state or national performance standards, aligned with the goals of districts, and include feedback and support for educators informed by multiple measures of student learning, growth, and achievement. Districts will have the 2023-2024 school year to plan for implementation of the new Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation beginning in the 2024-2025 school year.

Currently, training is being developed for teachers and administrators who will be evaluated under the new guidelines, as well as for school and district leaders who will be evaluating the teachers and administrators. Guidance is also being developed for district Professional Development and Evaluation Committees to ensure successful implementation of the new guidelines.

The Connecticut State Department of Education, adding to Lamont’s office, has also prioritized modernizing teacher certification to make it easier to become an educator while maintaining a high-quality educator workforce. The department, along with input from stakeholders, has identified short-term regulatory proposals to improve certification while Connecticut moves toward long-term solutions.

The Connecticut State Department of Education will convene a group of stakeholders to review and identify a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of the certification regulations. Like the EES Council, this group will be pivotal to the modernization of certification regulations.

“We owe it to our students to provide them with the best possible education, and that starts with ensuring that our teachers are well-trained and supported,” said Lamont said. “These proposed reforms are an important step forward in our efforts to improve the quality of education in Connecticut.”

“The Connecticut State Department of Education has made it one of our top priorities to have a high-quality and diverse educator workforce,” Russell-Tucker said. “We believe that the current collaborative efforts with our education partners will help us reach our goal. We are so grateful to our partner organizations that we are moving forward together in modernizing teacher certification and reimagining performance evaluation and supports in Connecticut.”

Lamont and Russell-Tucker were joined by Manchester Mayor Jay Moran, state Department of Education chief talent officer Dr. Shuana Tucker, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents executive director Fran Rabinowitz, Connecticut Education Association president Kate Dias, AFT Connecticut vice president for preK-12 teachers Mary Yordon, local education officials and teachers, and legislators.

Last week, educators themselves proposed possible solutions to solve the state’s teacher shortage problem.

One was to offer teachers more pay. They said the average salary was $47,000. They proposed raising that to $60,000.

Another proposal sought to raise the minimum age for kindergarten. Only a few states allow 4-year-old children. One report showed Connecticut had the youngest start age in the country.