November 15, 2018

Educators for Excellence-Connecticut Teachers Release Recommendations Around Culturally Responsive Teaching and Teacher Diversity

November 15 (Bridgeport) — Educators for Excellence-Connecticut (E4E-Connecticut), a teacher-led organization, released its policy paper, “Students Today, Educators Tomorrow.” Written by nine Bridgeport educators, the paper offers recommendations to recruit and retain teachers of color and provide all students with an excellent and culturally relevant education.

In Bridgeport, four out of five students are students of color while only one out of five teachers identify as people of color. Statewide, two out of five students identify as people of color while only one out of 10 teachers identify as people of color. As the state transitions to a new administration, E4E-Connecticut teachers hope their recommendations will inform decision-makers’ actions to close this diversity gap and equip teachers with the skills to teach across cultures.

“This paper is a map for how our state, schools and unions can improve teacher diversity, support students of color and encourage more students to pursue teaching as a career,” said Ryan Brown, a seventh-grade math teacher at Read School and an author of the report. “We all recognize the importance of having teachers and school leaders of color, yet a major disparity between teachers and students persists. I hope this paper spurs changes that will ensure a better education for our students in Bridgeport and throughout the state.”

The teacher-authors recommended that the state, local school districts and teachers unions in Connecticut prioritize the following:

  • Ensuring culturally relevant, standards-based teaching is integrated in curriculum and professional development throughout the district.  

  • Piloting teaching assistant programs for high school students of color to broaden the base of teachers of color candidates.

  • Creating incentives and supports to retain teachers of color in schools and the community.

These recommendations are informed by surveys completed by more than 60 teachers statewide, as well as teacher-authors’ meetings with external stakeholders.

“In Bridgeport, there is a serious diversity gap among teachers and students,” said Ebony Walmsley, E4E-Connecticut Managing Director of External Affairs. “Research shows that all students benefit from having teachers of color in the classroom. The members of our Bridgeport Teacher Policy Team recognize this need and worked diligently to ensure that the recommendations they came up with were feasible and impactful ways to elevate the teaching profession and support the best education possible for their students. As a statewide organization, we look forward to raising some of these recommendations during the Connecticut 2019 legislative session.”

Download the full report here.