MANCHESTER, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont is announcing a new initiative he said will strengthen teacher recruitment and retention in Connecticut.
Last week educators rallied at the state Capitol to call on the General Assembly to pass legislation to increase teacher salaries.
Thursday, they joined Lamont at Manchester High School to talk about reforms for the certification and evaluation process. This is all part of stemming the current workforce shortage.
“Teachers are like the foundation of everything, so it's important that they get the resources that they need to be able to support us,” said sophomore Callista Asante.
Asante wants to be a child psychiatrist in schools and she’s currently part of the Educators Rising program, which introduces students to careers in education.
“I've always loved all my teachers, all of them are super nice and really great teachers and I wanted to make that impact on students as well,” said Savannah Peek, also a sophomore at Manchester High School.
These students heard from Lamont and state education leaders Thursday about the proposed changes to Connecticut’s teacher evaluation and certification systems.
“We haven't really looked at teacher certification regs since 1998,” said Kate Dias, president of the Connecticut Education Association.
Advocates said in order to recruit and retain more teachers, the certification process needs to change.
“I'm not saying that the test should be easy,” seventh-grade ELA teacher Mary Franco said. “I think it should be more accessible to prospective teachers.”
“If we want to draw people in we have to again make it attainable,” continued Dias. “We have to look at the price tag. Why is it $1,500 to get certified? That's ridiculous.”
The state is also looking at teacher evaluations, approving new guidelines this month which focus on research, best practices and continuous improvement.
“I'm so tired of test, test, test, test,” Lamont said. “If you love to learn, if you love to continue to learn and you want to learn for the rest of your life, that's the greatest gift that a teacher can provide for each and every one of you.”
These proposals are a welcome step for students hoping to one day achieve a career in education.
“Everyone that's in like other careers only got there because of their teachers and like they’re such a really big, important like role to play in our society,” said sophomore Nathalie Ospina.
Those new teacher evaluations go into effect for the 2024-25 school year.
As for the other proposals, they are making their way through the legislative session. Lamont and education advocates are hopeful they’ll pass this year.
Emma Wulfhorst is a political reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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