The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“Commission”) has concluded its year-long investigation into the recruitment, hiring and retention of minority teachers in the City of Waterbury. The investigation included two public hearings in Waterbury, review of documents submitted from the public and nonprofit agencies, the production of thousands of documents from the City of Waterbury and meetings with the State Department of Education. Ultimately, although the Commission did not find statistical evidence of discrimination, it believed there were areas that Waterbury could improve upon. The Commission and the City worked together to draft best practice recommendations. Those recommendations were approved by the Commission and
signed by both Cherron Payne, Chairperson of the Commissioners and Mayor Neal O’Leary. The best practices includes the City hiring a competency/equity trainer to provide cultural competency training to staff and educators, reviewing the civil service system as it relates to teacher promotion in the elementary school level, establishing a future teacher club and a pathways to teaching club in the middle school and high school respectively, and the creation of an advisory committee comprised of stakeholders including but not limited to the NAACP, a member of the Hispanic community, the Board of Education and others. The City has agreed to keep the Commission updated on its progress by appearing at its November 2017 meeting and its May 2018 meeting.
The Commission’s Executive Director Tanya A. Hughes commented, “I am very pleased with the results of all the hard work expended by CHRO staff, the City of Waterbury and other stakeholders to produce this list of Best Practices Recommendations. I am extremely hopeful that it will bring forth increased opportunities and a heightened level of interest in education throughout the African American, Hispanic and minority communities represented in the district and throughout the state.”
The mission of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is to eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity and justice for all persons within the state through advocacy and education. The best practice recommendations the City of Waterbury and the Commission agreed to show the joint commitment to increase minority representation of teachers in the city and statewide. The Commission hopes these recommendations will be a road map to diversity its workforce of other school districts as well.