Legislation to Improve Educator Diversity, Recruitment and Retention in New York Schools Passes Senate

The New York State Senate passed legislation to establish the Grow Your Own Initiative to attract underrepresented teachers; create a task force to study the impacts of these discrepancies and recommend solutions; develop recruitment programs to find and retain minority and bilingual educators; establish statewide conventions for improved networking among underrepresented educators.

“Many of us have an educator to thank for where we are in life, and many of us saw the possibilities on our horizons thanks to an educator who looked like us,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Having representation from an early age not only serves as important role modeling but also greatly improves classroom connectivity and learning outcomes. Balancing the diversity of our teachers is a crucial step in furthering New York’s educational reforms and helps ensure that our school systems are truly built for everyone. I thank the bill sponsors and committee chairs for their commitment to this issue and advancing this critical legislation.”

Chair of the Senate Committee on NYC Education and Bill Sponsor, Senator John Liu said, “Our students’ educators should reflect the diversity of our student body, and Grow Your Own programs offer a proven approach to both recruiting good teachers and promoting an environment that cultivates better ideas, better outcomes, and brighter futures for all. If we are to truly ensure our schools are representative of the school population, we should always look to provide diverse, culturally responsive, community-based educators of color in order to best advance achievement for all students.”

Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Shelley B. Mayer, said, “Our students benefit when their teachers bring unique perspectives to the classroom and are representative of the entire New York State community. I am proud to join my colleagues in passing this legislation to strengthen our schools by expanding diversity amongst our educators.”

Key Components of Legislation:

  • Grow Your Own Initiative: Sponsored by Senator John Liu, S.1100A, develops grow your own initiatives at school districts, boards of cooperative educational services, and higher education institutions to attract underrepresented candidates into the teaching profession.
  • Task Force on Educator Diversity: Sponsored by Senator Jabari Brisport, S.255A establishes a task force on educator diversity in New York state to conduct a study on the state of diversity among educators in New York, and devise strategies to promote better diversity going forward.
  • The Underrepresented Teachers of Tomorrow Program: Sponsored by Senator Roxanne Persaud, S.342 establishes the underrepresented teachers of tomorrow teacher recruitment and retention program, which would provide awards designed to attract and retain educators from underrepresented demographics.
  • The Bilingual Teachers of Tomorrow Program: Sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, S.5433 establishes the bilingual teachers of tomorrow teacher recruitment and retention program to attract and retain bilingual, certified teachers in areas of greatest need.
  • Diversity and Empowerment Convention: Sponsored by Senator Robert Jackson, S.1984 will direct the commissioner to convene statewide and regional conventions to bring together underrepresented educators annually to discuss experiences and best practices, as well as allow for networking, mentorship opportunities, and support.

Read the Senate Majority release.

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Senators Involved

35th Senate District

16th Senate District

37th Senate District

25th Senate District

19th Senate District

21st Senate District

31st Senate District