CEA Executive Director Donald Williams urged legislators to pass a bill that would roll back the unfair increase in the teacher payroll tax.
The increased pension contribution for teachers that legislators passed last year without so much as a public hearing is causing financial hardship for CEA members. The payroll tax increase, combined with increases in healthcare costs, furlough days, and little or no wage increases mean that many Connecticut teachers are taking home less pay this year than they did last year.
CEA Executive Director Donald Williams today told the legislature’s Finance Committee that “teachers were singled out for the largest per capita tax increase—an average of about $700 per teacher. The dollars collected by the state were not used to offset the state’s unfunded liability in the teacher retirement fund, but rather were used to reduce the state’s contribution to the fund.” Read more
CEA UniServ Reps Sue Fulleton and Mike Casey, Norwich teacher Heidi Kapszukiewicz, and Manchester school social worker Charity Korb were some of the CEA members and staff who testified on student assault at a legislative hearing last night.
Although it was after ten o’clock last night by the time the legislature’s Education Committee heard public testimony on a bill to help ensure classroom safety and address student assaults, CEA members and staff made sure they were present to testify so that legislators could hear their stories.
“I am here today to tell you that there is a crisis in many schools across Connecticut related to student and teacher safety. And although it might seem incredulous, the majority of the most serious safety issues are occurring in elementary classrooms, including in pre-kindergarten,” CEA Program Development Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho told legislators.
With increasing frequency, teachers are reporting being assaulted by students in their classrooms. From being kicked, bitten, and knocked down to having chairs and books thrown at them, teachers are dealing with a sharp rise in aggressive student behavior that impacts not only educators, but also students. Read more
Before classes started on March 14, teachers and school staff in Amity, Darien, East Haddam, Marlborough, Manchester, Stamford, West Hartford, and elsewhere throughout the state gathered in their...
“Fancy Nancy” author Jane O’Connor read to East Haddam students and answered their questions about her books and the writing process.
From bow ties to frilly dresses, students at East Haddam Elementary School made an effort to don their fanciest attire this Read Across America Day to welcome a very special guest, “Fancy Nancy” author Jane O’Connor. O’Connor read her latest, and last, Fancy Nancy book, “Oodles of Kittens,” to students, answered their questions, and showed them how to walk in a “fancy” way while balancing a banana on their heads.
“All of our students were encouraged to dress fancy today to welcome our author,” said library media specialist Lisa Chlebowski, who organized the visit to the K-3 school. “They’re super excited to find out what it’s like to be a writer and how Jane O’Connor was able to write her books.”
“To have an author come in and talk about her life is so important and so exciting for the children,” said second grade teacher Maryann Caron.
CEA President Sheila Cohen.
It’s a busy day at the legislature’s Education Committee, with senate and house members hearing from the public on bills that cover a range of topics from remedial reading instruction to virtual learning to Education Savings Accounts.
CEA President Sheila Cohen’s testimony urged legislators “to reject even exploring the insidious idea of Education Savings Accounts being introduced in our state.”
Cohen explained that ESAs are a voucher-like mechanism for privatizing public education and redirecting taxpayer dollars away from public schools. “These neo-voucher plans, together with similar proposals like ‘scholarship’ vouchers, are envisioned to be used for private and parochial school tuition, home schooling, tutors, online and ‘virtual’ education, and transportation. They are ill-conceived and threaten our nation’s commitment to providing public education for all students.” Read more
The safety and well-being of our students and teachers are top priorities for CEA. In the wake of last month’s tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, school safety is once again in the national spotlight, and the push to ensure that public schools are safe havens now has the force of millions of young people behind it.
Many CEA members have expressed an interest in participating in March for Our Lives rallies on March 24, where they plan to stand with students and advocate for decisive, meaningful Congressional action to ensure school safety.
CEA has chartered a bus to Washington, D.C., and is organizing free bus transportation to Hartford. Read more
Shelton Education Association President Deb Keller (center) prepares to go into the school safety forum with fellow SEA members Laurie Goncalves, Michele Piccolo, Kathy Maffucci, and James Allan.
In one of the city’s largest public forums—with a crowd of over 200—more than 60 Shelton teachers shared their concerns and ideas regarding school safety with colleagues, administrators, and community members this week. The forum was organized in the wake of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida, which claimed the lives of 17 students, teachers, and coaches.
For Shelton Education Association President Deb Keller the issue of school safety hits close to home.
“For me, personally, Sandy Hook was up the road. The shooting happened on my birthday. Parkland was the last straw. I’m a teacher. We are vigilant, and we are trained, with shelter-in-place drills, evacuation drills, and ALICE active shooter training for teachers, and I know all my colleagues would put them themselves in harm’s way to save their students, but I worry. I worry about anything happening to one of my students.” Read more
“Raising taxes that disproportionately harm the middle class while providing tax cuts for the wealthy is not a formula that makes sense,” said CEA Executive...
Building reps are often a teacher’s first point of contact when questions arise—ranging from practical matters to sensitive subjects. They are their colleagues’ contract enforcer, organizer, and spokesperson.
A building rep’s job is vital, but it’s time-consuming, and often receives little thanks.
That’s why, here at CEA, we’re recognizing building reps around the state for their dedication to their colleagues and their willingness to devote time out of their busy schedules to this important job.
Building Rep Ricardo Gibson has been a physical education and health teacher at Reed School in Waterbury for six years, but this is his first year as a building rep. Read more
New London teacher Casey Miller attended a free screening of the documentary Backpack Full of Cash sponsored by CEA, Connecticut College, and Re:publicEd.
CEA, together with Connecticut College and New London-based nonprofit Re:publicEd, sponsored a free screening of the documentary Backpack Full of Cash, which takes a critical look at the movement to privatize schools.
Narrated by Matt Damon, the 90-minute film exposes the devastating effects of corporate-backed school reform on students, teachers, and whole communities. Filmed in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Nashville, and other major cities, Backpack Full of Cash shows the tragic consequences when school voucher schemes siphon taxpayer dollars to fund private, religious, for-profit CMO-run charter, and online schools, leaving public school students starved of resources. Read more