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CEA Member Named to State Board of Education

Nonnewaug High School Agriscience Director William Davenport was sworn in as a member of the state Board of Education this morning.

Nonnewaug High School Agriscience Director William Davenport was sworn in as a member of the state Board of Education this morning.

Nonnewaug High School Agriscience Director William Davenport was sworn in as a member of the state Board of Education this morning at the board’s meeting in Hartford. He is the second educator on the board, joining AFT member Erin Benham, a Meriden literacy teacher.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my 30 years in the classroom to continue to make a difference for students and to help Connecticut schools improve,” Davenport said.

He said he hopes to be able to guide the board toward some thoughtful, progressive discussions about how to improve education.

“It’s good for the board to include the perspectives of educators who are in schools working with students every day and see how state education policy plays out in our classrooms,” said Davenport. Read more

CEA Represents Teachers’ Voices on Statewide Panel

Don Williams,

CEA Policy Director Donald Williams spoke about the future of state education policy on a panel today at the Neag School of Education. From left are panel moderator Neag Associate Dean and Professor of Educational Leadership Casey Cobb, Williams, ConnCAN CEO Jennifer Alexander, and CAPSS Executive Director Joe Cirasuolo.

Donald Williams, CEA’s director of Policy, Research and Reform, stood up for the interests of public school students and teachers as a member of a panel today at UConn’s Neag School of Education. “To ignore poverty and racial isolation in high-poverty schools is to ignore the fundamental problem in those schools,” he said.

The panel discussion on the future of K-12 education policy in Connecticut also featured Joe Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), and Jennifer Alexander, CEO of ConnCAN.

Saying that Connecticut has some of the best schools in the nation, Williams told the audience that the state needs to concentrate its efforts and resources in the right areas. “If we want to succeed in lessening the achievement gap, we have to be honest about the problem and work to erase the opportunity gap,” he said. Read more

Deals and Discounts for October from NEA Member Benefits

This October, NEA Member Benefits is highlighting discounts on professional learning resources and books for your classroom as well as savings on a variety of travel programs. Don’t forget to check frequently for the latest deals and discounts.

NEA Click & Save “Buy-lights” for October 2015

Back-to-School deals abound. NEA Click & Save, the online discount buying service for NEA members, highlights select retailers and merchants each month. Check out these featured “Buy-lights” for October. Read more

Connecticut #1 for Income & Income Inequality

Connecticut continues to be number one when it comes to per capita income—but the state is also number one when it comes to income inequality.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in 2014 Connecticut had a per capita income of $64,864. That average, however, is skewed by a small group of high income earners.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that in 2012 members of the 1% in Connecticut earned an average income of $2,683,600, while the bottom 99% earned an average of $52,603.

From 2009 to 2012 the income of the top 1% grew by 35% while the bottom 99%’s income went down by 5.4%. Read more

CEA-R Fall Conference Expands Retirees’ Horizons

CEA-Retired President Gloria Brown

CEA-Retired President Gloria Brown told retirees at a fall conference today, “Teachers are lifelong learners.”

Expand your Horizons: Learn more. Travel more. Volunteer more. That was the theme of today’s CEA-Retired Fall Issues Conference at the Aqua Turf in Southington. More than 200 CEA-R members learned about new programs that can help them remain active, continue learning, and make a difference.

“Teachers are lifelong learners, and today’s conference introduced retired teachers to a number of different organizations that can help make a difference in their lives and allow them to remain intellectually stimulated and socially involved,” said CEA-R President Gloria Brown.

Learn more

Many retired teachers search for opportunities for intellectual development, cultural stimulation, and social interaction, and in Connecticut there are many opportunities for retirees to do just that. Read more

High School Teachers: Apply Now for a California Casualty Athletics Grant

Bill Jacobs, Matt Rice

Whitney High School East/West teachers Bill Jacobs and Matt Rice were excited last year to receive an athletics grant from California Casualty that allowed them to purchase uniforms and equipment for their school’s softball team.

Public high schools across the nation can score up to $3,000 for their sports departments with a California Casualty Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant. California Casualty, provider of the NEA® Auto & Home Insurance Program, is providing $100,000 to offset budget cuts that have affected high school athletics. Click here for details and entry forms. Applications must be received by January 15, 2016 for 2015-16 consideration.

Thanks to the California Casualty Athletics Grant, Whitney High School East/West in Hamden last school year was able to purchase uniforms and equipment for special education students playing on a school softball team. Physical education teacher Matt Rice said the grant allowed his students to “participate in activities that they otherwise wouldn’t have any way to access.” Read more

What Makes Read-Alouds So Important?

Many new parents receive the advice that they should read aloud to their baby. It’s advice that’s grounded in research, as many studies have linked early shared reading at home to later success in the classroom—but what is it about reading to young children that makes it so important?

Although conversations babies and young children have with their caregivers are well established as the primary means by which youngsters develop language, researchers from Indiana University Bloomington say that picture books may play a disproportionate role in children’s language learning.

In a study published in the last issue of the journal Psychological Science the researchers suggest that books have such an outsized influence because of the words they use. Read more

Government Shutdown Would Hurt Neediest Children

IMG_3155Unless members of Congress act quickly and come to a budget agreement the country will once again face a government shutdown starting October 1. That would mean cuts of 1.4 percent to education and all other non-defense discretionary programs including public health, housing, and social services.

These cuts would hurt our neediest children the most. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already instructed the Connecticut Department of Social Services and similar agencies in other states not to process food stamps for October—which means that, even if budget issues are resolved, recipients will receive their benefits late. Read more

School Lunch or Packed Lunch – Which is Better?

With another school year now underway many parents are back at a difficult daily task: packing lunches for their children. Every morning brings a series of questions: What will kids actually eat? Is it healthy? Would children be better off buying lunch?

The answer to that last question is yes, according to two studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Both studies found that school lunches complying with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition standards, on average, are lower in calories and fat and contain more fruits and vegetables than lunches students bring from home.

Ellen L. Shanley, dietetics director at the University of Connecticut, says that school lunches tend to be healthier because students are required to choose from several different food groups. Children who bring lunch from home are likely to eat only foods they are already sure that they like. Read more

New International Report on Students and Computer Use

What impact does students’ use of computers at home and at school have on their learning? A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looks into questions about students’ technology use that are on the minds of many parents and teachers and comes up with some surprising findings.

The report looked at 15-year-olds’ computer use across 31 nations and regions in 2012 and suggests that the promises of new technology have so far not been achieved.

In one particularly surprising finding, students’ moderate computer use at school was somewhat positively correlated with their scores on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), however very frequent computer use at school was negatively correlated with PISA scores.

After adjusting for variation in per capita income, the report also found that countries that spent less on equipping schools with computers increased PISA scores faster than countries that spent more.

The authors acknowledge that the report leaves many questions unanswered. They write,

One interpretation of all this is that building deep, conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking requires intensive teacher-student interactions, and technology sometimes distracts from this valuable human engagement. Another interpretation is that we have not yet become good enough at the kind of pedagogies that make the most of technology; that adding 21st century technologies to 20th century teaching practices will just dilute the effectiveness of teaching.

Read the entire report here.


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