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
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
“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...
CEA leaders joined labor leaders from across the state as well as legislators at a rally in Hartford as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus vs. AFSCME.
Though his opening address to the 2018 General Assembly today emphasized Connecticut’s tradition of fairness and the state’s future generations, the governor’s new budget proposal delivers mixed news for Connecticut students, teachers, and schools.
On the plus side, the governor’s plan includes a proposal to restructure state payments to the teacher retirement fund in a way that promotes the long-term solvency and stability of the fund.
“We support this initiative,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen, “but the plan must go further.” CEA is calling on the state to repeal the recent 1% increase in the teacher payroll tax, which increased the state’s pension obligation debt by $20 million. Read more
Tomorrow begins the 2018 session of the Connecticut General Assembly. It’s likely to be a busy session with many issues for legislators to tackle over these next three months.
Students, parents, teachers, and communities across the state are currently dealing with the destructive consequences of last year’s education cuts—fewer resources for children, layoffs of teachers and other educators, increases in class sizes, program and enrichment cuts, and disruption in our classrooms and communities in the middle of the school year.
Some of CEA’s priorities this session include restoring local public school funding, repealing the 1 percent teacher tax, protecting teacher pensions, safeguarding students and teachers from aggressive behavior, and advocating for teacher rights. Read more
A change to the retired teachers’ health insurance program that was adopted by the State Teachers’ Retirement Board (TRB) this month will impact retired teachers and spouses who are on—or will soon be on—the TRB’s Medicare supplement (65 and older) plan.
The new base plan will actually have a lower premium ($134 per person, per month) and it will be a Medicare Advantage plan through Anthem. The TRB will continue to offer the current Stirling plan, but it will be a buy-up, at $259 per person, per month, for the full package that includes drugs, dental, vision, and hearing coverage. Read more
Teachers, parents, and community members were shut out of a Stratford Board of Education meeting Monday after the board refused to change venues to a room big enough to accommodate all who wanted to participate.
Public officials are elected to represent the interests of local residents, but members of the Stratford Board of Education abdicated their responsibility to town residents Monday by shutting them out of a public meeting.
Though the board had received notice days in advance that the number of teachers, parents, and community members expected to attend the first meeting of the board, which was elected in November, would exceed the room’s capacity, the board refused to change the venue.
Some teachers, parents, and community members were consequently shut out from participating in their town’s democratic process at a crucial time for Stratford’s schools and students. Read more
East Hampton teacher Kristen Keska brought the Love Makes Great banner she carried in D.C. at last year’s Women’s March to Hartford this year.
People from around Connecticut gathered Saturday in Hartford for the 2nd annual Connecticut Women’s March—and among the attendees were many teachers.
“As a teacher of government, my favorite chant at these marches is, ‘Show us what democracy looks like? This is what democracy looks like!'” said East Hampton teacher Kristen Keska, who traveled to D.C. last year for the Women’s March there.