Skip to main content
Full Menu Close Menu
News Stories

Gov. Hochul signs law to spur teacher recruitment

New York Teacher
Gov Hochul Signs law
Jonathan Fickies

Gov. Kathy Hochul receives applause from teachers, union officials and state legislators on stage — including UFT President Michael Mulgrew (fourth from right) and NYSUT President Melinda Person (fifth from right) — as she shows off the signed teacher recruitment legislation at UFT headquarters.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed state legislation at UFT headquarters on Sept. 6 to spur teacher recruitment — with a focus on increasing diversity — across the state. The state needs about 180,000 teachers in the next decade to meet workforce needs, she said.

The new law directs the state Education Department to help school districts develop “grow your own” initiatives to attract and retain teaching candidates from underrepresented communities. It builds on the $30 million Empire State Teacher Residency Program, which funds two-year residencies for graduate-level K–12 teacher candidates and subsidizes the cost of master’s degrees and certification requirements. The program gives priority to educator diversity and focuses on shortage areas such as special education and bilingual education and on locations where there are teacher shortages.

Hochul announced the first round of awards — nearly $12 million — at the event. While New York City was not among the award recipients, the city Department of Education has applied for and expects to receive funding in a later round.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew warned that New York City faces a looming teacher shortage. “For years, everybody said, ‘Well, New York City would never deal with it.’ Well, we are,” he said at a press conference. “It was, ‘Oh, people will come from all over the country to live in New York City and teach.’ Well, that’s no longer true, and this is a big problem.”

When it comes to the state’s obligation to diversify its teaching workforce, Hochul said, “We’re failing terribly.”

Mulgrew said New York State is taking an important step in prodding school districts to develop effective recruitment plans that emphasize teacher diversity. “We understand that you can never, ever actually help a student until you first engage with a student,” he said. “You have to figure out that common ground, and we know, because all the data shows us, that we want people from all the cultures inside of our city.”

High school math teacher Gregory Hinckson, who recently began working for the UFT Teacher Center, said keeping new teachers of color in the profession will be a challenge. “We have to consider how to implement systems that are going to retain those teachers,” he said.

A 2023 report from the New York Equity Coalition said that schools in New York State struggled to retain teachers of color, particularly Black, Hispanic and Native American educators, between the 2018–19 and 2021–22 school years.