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$5,000 Scholarship Drawing for NEA Members

NEA Member Benefits has teamed up with Sallie Mae®, provider of the NEA® Smart Option Student Loan® Program, to offer NEA members a chance to win $5,000 cash! It’s NEA Member Benefits’ way of rewarding you for your dedication and helping you further your own educational pursuits.

Now through July 31, 2018, click here to enter.

If you’re the lucky $5,000 winner, you could choose to fund professional development courses for yourself, cover some of your expenses toward National Board Certification, or even help family members with their college tuition!

To enter, visit www.neamb.com or call the NEA Member Service Center at 1-800-637-4636.

CEA Member Appreciation Days at the Hartford Yard Goats Coming Up Soon!

Back by popular demand, the Hartford Yard Goats are holding two more CEA Teacher Appreciation Days this baseball season—Friday, July 27 and Friday, August 24—with discounted tickets and fireworks after each game. Incoming CEA President Jeff Leake will throw out the first pitch at the July 27 game.

TOMORROW is the last day to buy tickets for the July 27 game—so don’t wait!

Come out to cheer on the home team and enjoy special recognition for CEA member teachers and fireworks after the game.

  • Friday, July 27, at 7:05 PM vs. the New Hampshire Fisher Cats
  • Friday, August 24, at 7:05 PM vs. the Trenton Thunder

How to Save on Last-Minute Summer Travel

Still trying to decide how to spend your summer vacation? Or maybe you found some extra time to travel and you want make the most of it? While you may not have a lot of lead time left for a big summer trip, there are still lots of ways to save even if you spontaneously pack up and head out tomorrow!

No matter where you are in your travel planning, use these tips to get the most out of your vacation time and budget.

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July Deals and Discounts from NEA Member Benefits

It’s summer vacation! Make sure to check out the deals and discounts available from NEA Member Benefits for big savings on summer fun.

NEA Click & Save “Buy-lights” for July 2018

Please your family and friends with deals on summer entertainment including movies and theme parks, as well as on everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors! 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 July!* Read more

Path Academy Surrenders Charter, Will Close

The State Board of Education received notice this week that Path Academy, a Windham school run by a charter management organization, will voluntarily surrender its charter. Earlier this spring an investigation by the State Department of Education uncovered troubling practices at the school, including defrauding the state of nearly $1.6 million, billing the state for 128 phantom students, operating unauthorized schools, and tolerating excessive absenteeism.

CEA President Sheila Cohen issued a statement saying, “Path Academy’s voluntary surrender of its charter to operate a charter school in Connecticut is the beginning, not the end of what is needed to ensure that charter schools are held to the same standards as traditional public schools and are forced to operate with public accountability, oversight, and transparency. Read more

CEA Members Inspired by Former Political Prisoner’s Commitment to Students

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Bahrain Teachers’ Association Vice President Jalila Al-Salman shared her story with CEA members.

Standing up for students and the teaching profession is central to what it means to be a teacher, but in some places around the world, it can land you in prison.

That’s what happened to Jalila Al-Salman a Bahraini teacher and vice president of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA), who is currently a guest of the CEA delegation to the NEA Representative Assembly (RA).

In 2011, Sl-Salman helped to organize teacher strikes through the BTA in support of pro-democracy protests that were part of the international Arab Spring. She and other educators demanded reforms to Bahrain’s educational system, and advocated an end to the killing and suppression of protestors—a large percentage of whom were students. Read more

Teachers Stand Strong With Their Union in Minneapolis

Bridgeport teachers Ana Batista and Tiffany Ladson Lang are just two of the more than 100 CEA members representing their colleagues in Minneapolis this week.

In her keynote address to open the NEA Representative Assembly (RA) today, NEA President Lily Eskelsen García told the more than 6,000 educators gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center, “These are dark days, but Martin Luther King reminded us, ‘…only when it’s dark enough can you see the stars.’ And we have seen true stars align. We have seen the people march and speak up and refuse to be silent and refuse to pretend; we have seen the resistance rise.”

This RA is taking place in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, a case bankrolled by corporate interests, which seeks to weaken labor unions and steal the voice of students and teachers. However the Janus case isn’t the only attack educators have been uniting against recently. Read more

Connecticut Teachers Join National Colleagues for 2018 NEA RA

The Minneapolis Convention Center is ready to officially welcome over 6,000 educator delegates to the NEA RA.

Some of your Connecticut colleagues are in Minneapolis this week as members of the world’s largest democratic deliberative body: the NEA Representative Assembly (RA). The more than 100 CEA members are some of the over 6,000 elected delegates who are representing their colleagues around the nation.

Delegates are more energized than ever as they begin today to set education policy just days after the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision that sided with corporate interests over working people, threatening the future of workers’ rights.

Educators from every state come together to address how the membership will stand together to build an even stronger union in the wake of Janus and tackle the major issues facing public school students and educators. Read more

What Teachers Need to Know About the Janus Decision

In its decision in Janus vs. AFSCME, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down nearly four decades of precedent and legal protections. The Janus decision attempts to suppress teachers from speaking out for the needs of their students, public education, and their profession.

Those who are behind Janus have sought to weaken the teachers union, eliminate pensions, cut teacher salaries and benefits, and privatize public schools.

Groups like the Mackinac Center in Michigan are already trying to spread their misinformation in Connecticut. Who funds the Mackinac Center? Betsy DeVos, the Koch brothers, and corporate special interests.

Find out the truth about those who are behind the Janus decision and their real goal in urging teachers to leave their union.

In the Face of Supreme Court Ruling, Teachers, Union Members Vow to Stand Strong

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Manchester Education Association President Kate Dias, surrounded by representatives of numerous unions, calls today’s Supreme Court decision a rallying cry.

The U.S. Supreme Court today turned its back on teachers and other union members with a ruling in a case—Janus v. AFSCME—aimed at stripping away their collective voice and freedoms.

Union members are not taking the threat lying down.

In a press conference and rally this afternoon, they vowed to stand strong and fight back against the latest attack on their freedom and their right to collectively bargain.

United we stand
Manchester High School math teacher Kate Dias, president of the Manchester Education Association, led off the rally by reminding those gathered, “The union has long been the vehicle for workers, like teachers, to grow and have power—the power to negotiate a living wage, to influence working conditions, to speak for our students, and to fight for more funding for our public schools, the greatest social equalizer this country has ever had.”

To resounding applause, she declared, “This court decision isn’t a silencing act—it’s a rallying cry!”

Paraeducator Shellye Davis, co-president of AFT Local 2221, added, “For more than a century, solidarity is what drove our labor movement to make sure that capitalism actually works for working people—not just the top one percent. Through it all, our unions have faced unrelenting attacks by the rich and powerful, whose aim has been to keep the economy rigged against the rest of us. We see that continuing today, in the assault by a network of dark-money donors who weaponized the courts to try to take us down. They’re the ones who pushed the Janus lawsuit, specifically to weaken unions like mine—and silence the voices of all paraeducators, classroom support staff, and millions of other public employees.”

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Shellye Davis reminds the crowd about the historic and present power of union solidarity.

An attempt to divide and conquer
In its 5-4 decision in Janus vs. AFSCME earlier today, the court struck down nearly four decades of precedent and legal protections established by the unanimous decision in Abood vs. Detroit Board of Education.

“This is an attack on children as well as an attack on teachers, nurses, firefighters, and other public-sector union workers who make up this nation’s middle class,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen, noting that the Court’s decision—a political one—hands over more power to corporations and billionaires “at the expense of the rest of us.”

The Janus case revolved around the issue of whether nonunion members should benefit from the wages, benefits, and protections negotiated by the union without paying the fair share cost of those negotiations. Connecticut’s fair share system has been a commonsense plan that worked well for both union and nonunion members. In states like Arizona and Wisconsin, where fair share was abolished, teachers’ voices have been silenced, salaries and benefits have plummeted, working conditions have eroded, class sizes are higher, and outcomes for students are often lower.

“The Janus case is an effort to take away educators’ freedom to speak with a unified voice about their workplace, their profession, and the well-being of their students,” said CEA Executive Director Donald Williams. “It’s an attempt to take away the rights of men and women to collectively bargain for fair salaries, benefits, and working conditions.”

A threat to everyone

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“We won’t be defeated,” says Richard Hart.

Also speaking at the press conference was Waterbury firefighter Richard Hart (left), a member of IAFF Local 1339, who told the crowd, “The public’s safety and protection are paramount to our mission, and without the ability to bargain for equipment, tools, apparatus staffing, personal protective equipment, and training, we cannot protect those who cannot protect themselves. This decision by the Supreme Court grossly undermines our ability to protect the citizenry of the United States, places them at greater risk, and should be of grave concern to all.”

He added, “We won’t be defeated. We will persevere.”

Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier summarized, “From brave first responders to dedicated public school teachers to life-saving nurses, our community is strong because of those who answer the call to public service. These public service workers are able to serve their communities better because they are union workers, and together as a union, they have the freedom to speak up together to help make our communities strong and safe. The billionaires and corporate CEOs who supported the Janus case are attempting to divide working people and limit our power in numbers. They know that unions give workers a powerful voice in speaking up for themselves, their families, and their communities.”

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Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier criticizes the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME but vows that unions will not be broken by it.

Responding to a reporter’s question about what unions plan to do in response to the court’s decision, one rally attendee put it simply: “We intend to organize more.”

The crowd chanted, “They say, ‘Give back.’ We say, ‘Fight back!’”

Though CEA is deeply disappointed by the Court’s decision, said Cohen, “We are stronger together, and we will work diligently and relentlessly to ensure that our union membership and bargaining power remains strong so that we can best serve our students and ensure a world-class public education system in Connecticut.”