By Maria Roman
Human Resources Support Specialist Recruiter, Lissette Colon, has concerns about Bridgeport’s public school system being down 17.5 teaching positions with the majority in the shortage areas of the sciences, math, bilingual and special education. The issue, she says, is not the marketing and recruitment strategies; it’s because of Connecticut’s certification requirements that do not allow certified teachers from other states to work in the capacity of teacher while they obtain Connecticut certification. As a result, many are choosing to work in states such as Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, where they are allowed to work as teachers while they are going through those states’ certification process.
Colon, in 2014, gave an example of when she went to recruit in Puerto Rico and found teachers with master’s and doctorate degrees ready to work, but because of the certification issue they were only qualified for substitute teaching. She gave other examples of highly educated professors in Connecticut, saying, “This is an eyebrow raiser, the legislature needs to take a good hard look at Bridgeport and take a vested interest in the challenges and issues at hand [and] they need to look at it on the district level,” also mentioning the issues are different and Bridgeport teachers are the least paid in Fairfield County.
Chief Human Resources Officer, Kathleen Jaegar, in agreement with the hiring dilemma, added that there is progress in other areas and that there are “hidden treasures” in working with students in the system, “Although we have a shortage of teachers, the few we have make it happen.”