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Posts from the ‘Politics’ Category

Educators Share Concerns With Legislators on Special Ed Proposals

Fairfield teacher and local president Bob Smoler testified before the legislature Thursday on a special education proposal.

Every year legislators on the Education Committee deliberate over many bills that could have a big impact on children, parents, and educators. This legislative session, special education is receiving particular attention.

Among the many bills the Education Committee heard testimony on today were one proposing a new way of funding special education in Connecticut and one that provides very prescriptive rules for parent observation, including allowing a minimum of 16 hours per parent in a school year.

Fairfield Education Association President and math teacher Bob Smoler took the time away from his busy teaching schedule to come up to Hartford to speak out on that second bill. Read more

CEA Asks Legislators to Demand Accountability, Transparency for Charter Management Organizations

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg told the Legislature’s Education Committee that charter management organizations must be subject to transparency and accountability.

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg testified before the Education Committee today in favor of a bill that expands accountability and transparency for charter management organizations (CMOs) that run some of Connecticut’s publicly funded schools.

“Every dollar for public education is precious, and we need this legislation to ensure that every dollar spent by charter management organizations is spent on supporting students in those classrooms,” Waxenberg said. Read more

CEA to Legislature’s Education Committee: Create a System That Delivers Equity and Adequacy

Calling Connecticut’s system for funding public education “irretrievably broken,” CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg unveiled a bold new plan to ensure...

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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.

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Proposed Budget Divides Schools, Communities into ‘Clear Winners and Losers’

Governor Malloy has released a budget proposal that would shift significant costs for public education and teacher pensions to cities and towns that are already struggling.

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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

Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on Senate Approval of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

We thank all our teachers, parents, and the public for their tireless efforts—the rallies, the flood of phone calls, and the deluge of emails...

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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.

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