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CSDE Prioritizing Teacher Recruitment and Retention, Signs of a Fiscal Cliff for Ed

CSDE to Prioritize Teacher Recruitment and Retention

This past Thursday, Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker hosted Connecticut’s annual Back-to-School Meeting for superintendents across the state. Proclaiming that the theme for the coming school year is "infinite possibilities," she challenged Connecticut education leaders to pursue solutions, even to problems that might seem insurmountable at first blush.

Among the top goals for Connecticut’s State Department of Education—according to coverage by the CT Mirror and CT Public—are the recruitment and retention of diverse and high-quality educators. It’s a growing problem.

For example, News 8 reports that New Haven is looking at 84 classroom vacancies, heading into the 2023-24 school year. An NBC CT story this week likewise says that Hartford has 60 teacher vacancies two weeks before classrooms re-open.

In a Hartford Courant op-ed on Monday, Educators for Excellence Executive Director Daniel Pearson decries a complicated teacher certification system that deters qualified candidates, which leaves current teachers to cover for both shortages and absences.

The Signs of a Fiscal Cliff for Ed

Two new publications this week—from The Education Trust (Ed Trust) and Education Resource Strategies (ERS)—cover the impending possibility of a fiscal cliff in education once ESSER funding runs out, along with guidance for districts.

Looking at takeaways from both groups, Education Week notes that the most at-risk districts are those with declining student enrollment and those that have invested relief funding into recurring costs associated with teacher staffing.

Indeed, compensation is usually the largest recurring expense in a district. ERS flags it as an indicator of risk when districts have used ESSER funds to cover increases to compensation or staffing. Districts with the greatest "sustainability risk" may need support from state leaders, according to ERS.

The federal pandemic relief funding must be spent by September of 2024. Where there are remaining federal funds to spend down, Nicholas Munyan-Penney from Ed Trust writes that districts should invest in sustainable programs that target high-need student populations.

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