Over the last year R. A. C. C. E. has worked hard to gain an understanding of the practices that guide Waterbury Public Schools’ educator staffing demographics; teacher and administrator hiring practices; and the results of recent efforts to increase the amount non-white educators in our schools.
Our efforts, including Dr. Arias’ service on a state legislative task force concerned with minority teacher recruitment and retention, have revealed that the staffing levels suffer due to ineffective hiring practices, which are a primary contributor to low-level of non-white educators being hired and promoted by the Waterbury Public Schools, as well as a small pipeline of certified non-white candidates.
Waterbury Public Schools educator staffing levels reveal that only 8% of the educator workforce is black or Hispanic. It is important to note that having race congruent student-teacher relationships improves student performance, lowers discipline sanction rates, and increases school connectedness for non-white students as much as it does for white students.
Considering the persistent disparities in performance, discipline, and graduation rates for non-white students we believe more resources need to be allocated, and more effective strategies to hire more black and Hispanic educators must be embraced by the Waterbury Public Schools to achieve the desired results.
Therefore, we ask you or your organization to support these (2) actions we are requesting the Waterbury Public Schools take, which we believe will immediately impact hiring and retention rates of non-white educators:
1. The Waterbury Public Schools should implement Rooney Rules. This practice would require at least one non-white candidate be interviewed for each new teacher hire position and promotional opportunity. Legal experts have proclaimed the positive impact and legality of such rules. It’s a reasonable, as well as a good faith effort for Waterbury Public Schools to take.
2. Create a Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention Performance Advisory Council. This council would be a local body that works collaboratively with the Waterbury Public Schools. It would be charged with reviewing current strategies to increase the effective recruitment and hiring of non-white educators; make recommendation on how to improve recruitment and hiring of non-white educators; would create accountability standards for recruitment and retention efforts in partnership with the Waterbury Public Schools; would work with Waterbury Public Schools to engage private and public enterprises to increase awareness about the efficacy of race-congruent student/teacher dyads; search for and procure additional funding for effective practices that result in an increase in non-white educators being hired and retained; finally the council will act independently to market Waterbury as a preferred destination for non-white educator candidates. These strategies will be multifaceted and could include: housing, tuition reimbursement, social networks and community service opportunities.
The members of this council shall consists of (1) member of private sector that exhibits proficiency in the area of increasing workplace diversity; (1) Board of Education member; (1) Board of Alderman member; (1) state legislator from the Waterbury delegation; (1) WTA appointee; (2) WPS students; and (4) community stakeholders who have content knowledge and/or an established record of working with students or parents.
Sign our CHANGE.ORG Petition and it will be sent directly to Dr. Ouellette, Mayor Neil O’Leary, and BOE President Brown.
Categories: Current Issues