The current teaching force, both across the nation and in Connecticut, does not represent the student population served by our schools. To develop a more representative teaching force, it is particularly important that the composition of teacher candidates across all programs reflects the demographics of the communities our programs serve. Eastern Connecticut State University and its School of Education and Professional Studies (SEPS) are fully committed to supporting and developing diversity among teacher candidates. To achieve this goal, SEPS has embarked on a variety of initiatives involving partnerships with local school districts and regional community colleges, as well as national organizations, such as the Holmes Program. The AACTE Holmes Master’s Program supports graduate students from historically underrepresented groups interested in careers in teaching, school administration or higher education. The first initiative of its kind within the region, the inaugural cohort of Eastern’s Holmes Master’s students enrolled in summer 2016.
To begin examining the factors inhibiting a more representative teaching force throughout the state, Eastern’s Holmes Master’s students and Dean’s Scholar administered an electronic survey regarding the teaching profession to a sample of Connecticut high school students in the fall of 2016. The researchers conducted a root cause analysis to examine the reasons why high school students would have an interest in the teaching profession. A detailed report of the findings was prepared and distributed to State of Connecticut legislators and Department of Education administrators, as well as to teacher preparation program leaders across the state. The full report, Minority Teacher Recruitment: A Root Cause Analysis in Connecticut, is currently available online. We invite colleagues to join our investigation into the root causes for minority teacher disproportionality in Connecticut and across the country, and we encourage discussions that lead to sustained and coordinated efforts at enhancing access, diversity, and equity.