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CEA Statement on Release of SBAC Scores

The State Department of Education has today released state, district, and school SBAC results. Click here for the scores.

Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on Release of SBAC Scores

No one cares more about student success than teachers. Fairness and validity in a state testing program are critical if we are going to be honest about student success. Teachers do not think the new statewide SBAC results are an accurate reflection of what Connecticut students know and are able to do. All indications are that SBAC is not only unfair and invalid, but is also a failed experiment.

To the point, SBAC is neither meaningful in making critical judgments about student, school, and teacher performance, nor is it an accurate gauge by which decisions about individualized student instruction, programs, and funding should be determined. The test technology alone is an utter disaster.

Everything we know about SBAC points to unreliability and lack of validity. A valid and useful testing program provides a sturdy bridge to high-quality education—a system where educators can address individual student needs effectively and improve curriculum and professional development continually. SBAC is not that bridge. SBAC is a bridge to nowhere. Read more

Madison Convocation Speaker Highlights Need to Personalize Students’ Education

By Ray Rossomando, CEA Research and Policy Development Specialist

Dr. Yong Zhao addressed Madison Public School teachers at their convocation this week.

Dr. Yong Zhao addressed Madison Public School teachers at their convocation this week.

Teachers around the state are kicking off the school year hearing a variety of messages from a variety of convocation speakers. Madison teachers heard from internationally renowned education scholar Dr. Yong Zhao who presented an inspiring convocation address, saying that what students will need to be successful in the future cannot be measured by a test score.

With humor and insight, Zhao talked about the transformation we are experiencing in the information age and noted how job demands shift as new technologies evolve. Imagining the example of Google’s driverless car becoming common place, Zhao envisioned no taxi drivers, no truck drivers, fewer state troopers, no stop lights to manufacture, and no accidents, “except when the Google car runs into the Microsoft car,” he joked. Read more

Parents Agree, Too Much Testing in Schools

It’s not just teachers who say students are being subjected to too much standardized testing. A recently released poll of public school parents found that 67 percent think there’s too much emphasis on testing in schools.

Other highlights related to standardized testing from the PDK/Gallup Poll, a nationally representative survey of Americans, include the following:

  • From a list of five ideas for improving public schools in their community, respondents ranked testing as least important.
  • Standardized testing was also last on the list when respondents were asked to select from four approaches that would provide the most accurate picture of a public school student’s academic progress.
  • Less than a quarter of respondents thought it was very important that they know how students in their community’s schools perform on standardized tests compared with students in other school districts, states, and nations.
  • Fifty-five percent of Americans and 63 percent of public school parents oppose including student scores on standardized tests as part of teacher evaluations.

Teachers Head Back to School Ready to Build Community in the Classroom

Latimer Lane third-grade teacher Kim Roth

Latimer Lane third grade teacher Kim Roth was back preparing her classroom weeks before her students’ return.

Many Connecticut students and teachers are heading back to school this week, and teachers are setting the stage for a positive school year with projects and activities to introduce themselves to their students and acclimate them to a new classroom and grade level.

Students will start back to school at Latimer Lane Elementary in Simsbury this Wednesday. Returning teachers are back for their first official day today, but they’ve been in the classroom preparing for students for weeks now.

“It’s my 20th year teaching, and I still love it,” said third grade teacher Kim Roth. “I still get nervous before the first day of school.”

Roth is ready to start the year off for her students with a scavenger hunt around the classroom that gives students a chance to get to know one another, Roth, and the classroom.

“The goal for me is always to build community first,” Roth says. “It’s not my classroom, it’s our classroom.” Read more

Review this Checklist Before You Head Back to School

There’s a lot to do every year as you prepare to head back to school—from setting up your classroom to preparing lessons and attending meetings your to-do list may already be long. There are a few more items that are important to add to the list though, as they’ll save you time and headache if you address them now.

  1. Make sure you have a copy of your contract and that you’ve read it.
  2. Check your certification. Make sure your certification is up to date and that you have complied with all certification requirements.
  3. Read more

CEA Members Join Colleagues to Rally for Public Education

CEA members traveled to New Hampshire today

CEA members traveled to New Hampshire today to rally in support of public education at an education summit featuring Republican presidential candidates.

“It was disappointing that teachers were not allowed to participate or attend a summit on education today—go figure,” said Westport librarian, Association president, and NEA Director John Horrigan.

Horrigan was one of nearly 40 CEA members and staff, and more than 100 teachers from around New England, who rallied in Londonderry, New Hampshire, where Republican presidential candidates were participating in an education summit.

“Republican presidential candidates need to seek teacher input, not turn us away,” said New Hampshire teacher Penny Culliton, who was refused entry to the GOP Education Summit (watch video), despite having a ticket to the event and driving an hour and a half to get there. Read more

Teaching Tool: History Exhibit Showcases CT Stories

Manchester High School student Rachael Suhie's project on running pioneer Julia Chase-Brand was chosen by the Connecticut Historical Society for it's 50 Objects, 50 Stories exhibit.

Manchester High School student Rachael Suhie’s project on running pioneer Julia Chase-Brand was chosen by the Connecticut Historical Society for its 50 Objects/50 Stories exhibit.

Teaching history is all about telling stories. Now Connecticut students have the chance to get a personal perspective on how stories shape history—thanks to a Connecticut Historical Society project titled Connecticut Kids: Your Objects, Your Stories.

The project encourages children to share an object that represents a personally significant story. It’s part of a larger exhibit going on at the Historical Society, Connecticut: 50 Objects/50 Stories, which focuses on objects that help tell the stories that define Connecticut.

Object submissions from Connecticut youngsters will be featured in an online gallery. On Saturday, October 3, the Connecticut Historical Society will hold a special pop-up exhibit featuring some of the objects so that families and visitors can come see them and hear their stories. The Historical Society will also have other activities and crafts available for families that day to celebrate the stories of Connecticut kids. Submissions are due by September 12—click here for more information.

History through the eyes of a teenager

The 50 Objects/50 Stories exhibit is also an excellent learning tool for families and school groups that visit the Historical Society—and in fact, one of the 50 objects submitted came out of a school history day project last year by Manchester High School student Rachael Suhie.

The project is a graduation requirement at Manchester High School that students work on during their junior-year American Studies class. Students can choose to demonstrate what they have learned through an exhibit, documentary, performance, website, or traditional paper.

Suhie chose to do an exhibit on Julia Chase-Brand, a pioneer in the world of running who became the first woman in the United States to participate in a major distance road race by finishing the Manchester Road Race in 1961. Read more

Back to School Resources from NEA Member Benefits

back to schoolNEA Member Benefits—the place NEA members go to maximize their hard-earned dollars—is offering up classroom ideas, professional advice, wellness tips, giveaways, and more this back-to-school season. Check out their resources to help make this school year a great one.

  • Back-to-school Advice: El Paso Teachers Association members share their wisdom to help you have your best back to school yet. See the video
  • Shopping: Stretch your back-to-school budget into year-round savings with these tips and exclusive discounts. Get advice and deals now.
  • Classroom: Educators share their proven methods to motivate students and turn parents into partners. Plan a successful back-to-school experience.
  • Wellness: Check out simple everyday strategies to stay healthy and eat well. Beat back-to-school stress.
  • Professional: Access valuable career advice and find your formula for success. Strike the perfect work life balance.
  • Fun Fashion Makeovers: See how three of your colleagues upgraded their back-to-school looks. Watch their transformations.
  • Win $1,000 in a Fashion Giveaway: Expand your back-to-school wardrobe with the $1,000 grand prize or one of 40 $100 Visa Reward Cards. Enter today.

Read more

Join Your CEA & NEA Colleagues to Protest Failed Vision for Public Education

protest in NHTired of listening to so-called experts pontificate on “fixing” education?  Want to help reject the test, label, and punish ideas of so-called education reformers? Want all students to have a real opportunity to learn?

Join us in Londonderry, New Hampshire on Wednesday, August 19, to support education reform done right.

Teachers need to send a message to anti-public education reformer Campbell Brown and the Republican presidential candidates speaking at the Ed Summit 2015, that we are tired of their failing vision. Help us lead and define a new vision for public education by joining our CEA and NEA colleagues from across New England in protesting the views of the candidates listed below who are scheduled to “perform.”

Join us and together we can fight for our students’ futures. Read more

Preparing the Classroom for the Youngest Learners

Maryann Lindquist’s classroom at Latimer Lane Elementary in Simsbury is ready to welcome her first grade students.

With only a couple of weeks left before many Connecticut schools are back in session, teachers are preparing their rooms and assembling the supplies they’ll need to welcome children back to the classroom. The youngest students often require the most focus on getting comfortable with the classroom environment—after a two-month break, or for the very first time.

Simsbury first grade teacher Maryann Lindquist said that, though she does introduce academics, the focus of the first week for her students is on getting to know one another and getting accustomed to being back in the classroom. Read more

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