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School Funding, DeVos & More: CEA Leaders Speaking Out on the Air

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg (at right) was interviewed by CT Radio Network's Steve Kotchko recently for a spot that will air Sunday morning on several radio stations.

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg (at right) was interviewed by CT Radio Network’s Steve Kotchko recently for a spot that will air Sunday morning on several CT radio stations.

CEA leaders are speaking out about the governor’s budget proposal, the need for the state to invest in all public schools, Betsy DeVos, and more.

During a recent appearance on WDRC AM, CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg told Brad Davis that the governor’s proposal to foist one-third of teacher pension costs onto towns and cities would have unintended, long-term consequences on our next generation of students. Read more

When Was the Last Time You Talked to Your Legislators?

Meeting with State Senator Toni Boucher (3rd from right) were local Association leaders Ronna Van Veghel, New Canaan; Vivian Birdsall, New Canaan; Jeanne Deming, Ridgefield; Al Anderson, Bethel; Cynthia Rohr, Redding; John Horrigan, Westport; Andrew Nicsaji, Wilton.

Meeting with State Senator Toni Boucher (3rd from right) were local Association leaders Ronna Van Veghel, New Canaan; Vivian Birdsall, New Canaan; Jeanne Deming, Ridgefield; Al Robinson, Bethel; Cynthia Rohr, Redding; John Horrigan, Westport; and Andrew Nicsaji, Wilton.

Do your state senator and state representative know who you are? Thanks to a meeting over coffee on a recent Saturday, Senator Toni Boucher now knows the names and faces of leaders of each of the local CEA affiliates in the towns that she represents.

And Boucher knows that those seven local presidents and vice presidents represent over 3,000 teachers who vote and are strong advocates for their students and their profession.

Read more

February Deals and Discounts from NEA Member Benefits

file7061238875087NEA Member Benefits features select deals and discounts each month. Check out what’s hot for February.

NEA Click & Save “Buy-lights” for February 2017

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 February!* Read more

New CEA TV Ad Amplifies Calls to Invest in All Public Schools

protect-fundingA new CEA public awareness TV ad featuring CEA members and Connecticut students starts playing on Connecticut TV stations this week. The spot highlights the need for the state to invest in all public schools, not divide schools, parents, and communities into clear winners and losers.

“All of our students deserve to be winners and have the resources needed to succeed and achieve,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen.

The state currently underfunds public education by more than $700 million per year. Rather than focusing on a sustainable revenue stream that allows Connecticut to fulfill its constitutional obligation to fully fund public education for all children, the governor’s proposed budget divides existing funds, creating winners and losers. Read more

Statement from CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg on the Governor’s Proposed Education Budget

The governor’s proposed education budget threatens the quality of all our local public schools by dividing schools, parents, and communities into clear winners and losers. That’s unfair to all of us, but especially our children. All of our children deserve to be winners and have the resources to achieve.

The state currently underfunds public education by more than $700 million per year. The state needs to focus on a sustainable revenue stream that allows Connecticut to fulfill its constitutional obligation to fully fund public education to provide all children with the funding and resources they need to achieve. Read more

Senators Murphy and Blumenthal to Vote ‘No’ on DeVos Confirmation

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy talked with a room full of teachers on Friday about his opposition to Betsy DeVos' nomination.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy talked with a room full of teachers on Friday about his opposition to Betsy DeVos’ nomination.

Teachers have been calling and emailing their senators in unprecedented numbers, and those senators are taking notice.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy told the more than 100 teachers who joined him in New Haven Friday afternoon that his office has received an incredible 13,000 calls in opposition to Betsy DeVos’ nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education.

“Teachers are known for being great listeners,” said one educator in the crowd. “But we feel like there’s a nominee for Secretary of Education who’s not listening.” Read more

Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on Governor’s Teacher Retirement Budget Proposal

Connecticut State Capitol BuildingGovernor Malloy’s budget proposal recognizes the value of Connecticut teachers and the state’s financial obligation to them, but the plan to create a partnership for teacher pension contributions with cities and towns must be viewed with extreme caution. The plan could have serious consequences for our students, our families, and our communities.

As a result of this proposal, cities and towns could cut education budgets, resulting in cuts to classes and other educational programs, teacher layoffs, and larger class sizes for our students. This plan would have unintended, long-term consequences on all of our students. A similar plan was explored more than 20 years ago, and legislators rejected it then. The examination and scrutiny of the plan that was done then must be done now.

We applaud the governor for recognizing the need to continue to fulfill his promise to educators by addressing the state’s obligation to the retired teachers’ healthcare fund and by reducing the state income tax on teacher pensions.

Active and retired teachers have always contributed the lion’s share to the healthcare fund, and their contributions have never wavered. We are pleased that the governor has put forth a plan that recognizes the need for Connecticut to keep its promise to our dedicated educators. Our teachers, who have committed their lives to teaching students—the future of our state—deserve nothing less.

Black History Month Lessons & Resources

Photo by LizMarie_AK via Flickr.

Photo by LizMarie_AK via Flickr.

To help you integrate Black History Month into your classroom, here is a selection of lesson plans that cover a variety subjects and that can be adapted to fit multiple grade levels.

Resources for:

Voters Send Clear Message: Invest in Public Schools, Create New Revenue System

state-budget-fbFed up with continuous budget deficits, Connecticut voters want their state legislators to take action and create a budget that works for all of us—but not on the backs of our children and families.

According to a new survey, voters say improving Connecticut’s future means investing in public schools and creating a new, fairer tax system that keeps taxes low for the middle class and asks corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share.

“Voters want to protect public education, children, the economy, and jobs, and they do not want these priorities to be undermined by the next state budget,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “This is the first time we have heard directly from voters regarding how they want Connecticut to handle the state’s fiscal crisis, and their concerns should be used as the foundation for moving forward.” Read more

Be Ready to Act to Support Public Education: Join Your Colleagues

Kathryn Noonan, a first year teacher in Stonington, said she thinks it's especially important for new teachers to get involved.

Kathryn Noonan, a first year teacher in Stonington, said she thinks it’s especially important for new teachers to get involved.

The unprecedented number of calls and emails U.S. senators have received in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education make it clear that teachers understand the outsized role that policy and politics can play in their classrooms.

It’s not just national lawmakers and decisions at the federal level that influence what happens in our schools, however. Often state-level decisions can shape Connecticut schools to a greater degree than federal policies do.

That’s why grassroots organizing and activism here in Connecticut by those who know public education best—teachers—is so critical for ensuring high-quality public education for all Connecticut students. Read more