Minnesota House of Representatives
A bipartisan group of legislators led by Minnesota House of Representatives Rep. Hodan Hassan (D-Minneapolis), Rep. Heather Keeler (D-Moorhead) and Senator Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) joined advocates to discuss progress made on the 2021 Increase Teachers of Color Act.
The act is comprised of a package of comprehensive legislation that seeks to address the severe shortage of BIPOC teachers in Minnesota, that remains stagnant at 5%, while the percentage of BIPOC students (currently ~34%) increases annually. The act includes HF 217/SF 446 and HF 1041/SF 797.
“It is so important to invest in our next generation and have a teaching staff that reflects our community and our students in the classrooms,” Keeler, an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, said. “Representation matters and as the lead author of the higher education bill for the Increase Teachers of Color Act, I have the opportunity to be the strong voice to stand up for the injustice so many of us have experienced and help our students navigate their future endeavors.”
“We owe it to our students to give them the best education possible, and the most important factor in a quality education is our educators,” Hassan said. "It has been shown repeatedly that all of our students benefit when they have teachers of color and American Indian teachers, but this is especially true for our students of color and indigenous students. This act will ensure that our school education system has adequate resources to hire and retain teachers of color and American Indian teachers, while also creating a space for culturally relevant learning to take place. I'm glad that this important legislation is moving forward with bipartisan support.”
Research shows that BIPOC teachers benefit all students and help narrow achievement gaps. Given Minnesota has some of the highest opportunity and achievement gaps in the country for BIPOC students, advocates make the case for urgent and unprecedented legislative action for systemic change.
To date, the Act will have or has had the following hearings:
- SF446 in Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee on February 24
- HF1041 is expected in House Higher Education Committee in mid-March
- SF797 in Senate Higher Education Committee on February 16
- HF217 in House Education Finance Committee on February 3
- HF217 in House Education Policy Committee on January 27
The legislation also has endorsements from more than 50 councils, education, and community organizations, and builds upon previous versions of the Increase Teachers of Color Act starting in 2017.