On Thursday, August 19, 2021, State Rep. Tom Delnicki attended a bill signing ceremony to commemorate the adoption of legislation establishing the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) Alliance District Teacher Loan Subsidy Program, which will provide an interest rate subsidy on CHESLA loans to teachers who commit to teaching in one of Connecticut’s 33 highest need school districts.
The loan subsidy adds to a set of statewide initiatives designed to address persistent shortage areas and support teachers throughout every stage of their career by addressing the difficulties associated with recruiting and retaining teachers in districts that typically experience high turnover.
“The first office I ever sought was on the Board of Education. As a former board member, I recognize the importance of recruitment and retention, and being able to develop a workforce that works for everyone and provides opportunity and education for everyone. We’ve done some good work here with this bipartisan legislation. We have an opportunity here going forward to make things work even better to the benefit of the people of Connecticut,” said State Representative Tom Delnicki, Ranking Member of the legislature’s Banking Committee.
The legislation is part of a multipronged approach in alignment with the State Board of Education’s plan to attract, support, and retain great teachers and leaders with an intentional focus on building an educator workforce that reflects the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of its students.
A review of the last five years of work in this area indicates the following three focus areas and corresponding strategies have yielded positive results:
- Increasing pathways to certification by providing ongoing support to both traditional and alternate route educator preparation programs;
- Assisting districts with recruiting, hiring, and retaining a diverse educator workforce; and
- Supporting candidates to attract and recruit the next generation of Connecticut educators.
There is a wide range of evidence to support the benefits of a diverse teacher workforce for students of all races/ethnicities, including its positive impact on strengthening schools, reduced dropout rates, improved college admissions, and achievement gains. In May, Governor Lamont announced that, over the last five years, school districts in Connecticut have hired more than 1,900 educators of color, exceeding the goal set by the State Board of Education to increase the number of educators of color from 8.3 percent to 10 percent – approximately 1,000 positions – between 2017 and 2021.
The legislation is Public Act 21-62, An Act Requiring a Study by the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority, Establishing a Working Group to Study Certain Issues Concerning Financing for Post-secondary Education and Establishing the Alliance District Teacher Loan Subsidy Program.