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Posts from the ‘Politics’ Category

Help Connecticut’s Working Families

CEA is joining with our fellow members of the labor movement in calling on the governor and legislators to protect the health and safety of all working people, including workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We must do everything we can to reduce the heavy toll this public health emergency is inflicting on the livelihoods of our colleagues and neighbors who are facing layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours, and shutdowns.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has suspended utility disconnections for nonpayment and Governor Lamont has suspended certain requirements for furloughed workers so they can more easily obtain unemployment benefits—critical steps in making sure working people facing serious health and financial risks receive the assistance they need.

Now it’s time we urge the governor and legislature to do even more to help workers feeling the adverse economic impacts of the coronavirus.

This crisis has exposed the shortcomings of our worker protection and health care systems. We need to make sure working people do not bear the brunt of the impact.

Steps the state of Connecticut should take include: Read more

Tell Congress to Take Further Action to Give Families Much-Needed Relief

A bill President Trump signed into law yesterday is an important step in the right direction to provide relief during this difficult time, but the education community wants Congress to go further to provide families with immediate financial support and regulatory relief.

The bill signed yesterday makes it easier for students who typically receive school meals to get access to food and extends sick leave and family leave protections to government employees, including public school teachers.

The National Education Association is calling on members of Congress and the Trump administration to implement immediate financial support measures first, along with regulatory relief that students desperately need from the Department of Education. Among the top measures that NEA is advocating: Read more

NEA Recommends Former Vice President Joe Biden for President

Educators have engaged in record numbers in the 2020 presidential campaign and have made it clear they are ready to take this activism and organizing all the way to November.

After yesterday’s primaries in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois, Vice President Joe Biden has 1,180 delegates to Senator Bernie Sanders’ 885.

After much debate and careful consideration, NEA recently decided to endorse Biden in the Democratic primary based on his record of support for public education. Read more

Connecticut Teachers Testify in Support of Minority Teacher Recruitment Bill

Teachers testified in favor of a bill that would assist more minority teachers in obtaining teacher certification.

Read more

CEA Members, Staff Urge Passage of Legislation to Improve Air Quality in Schools

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Testifying before the legislature’s Public Health Committee, CEA legal counsel Melanie Kolek talks about the explosion of illnesses and workers’ compensation cases linked to sick schools.

Classrooms were over 100 degrees. Crayons were melted, tables warped, magnets curled and fell off the boards, candies melted, floors buckled. Medical concerns when the temperature of the room was unbearable consisted of dizzy spells, headaches, blackouts, concentration issues, and difficulty breathing. Extreme temperatures caused mold to grow throughout the building, including in the HVAC systems. Teachers discovered mold behind ceiling tiles, around pipes, behind the wallpaper, on baseboards, on student shared materials, and around windows. We began to notice that many of us, including students, were having medical concerns that affected our ability to function. We are concerned that the exposure to these elements will have lifelong effects on our overall health. 

Testimony from CEA’s members and legal team before the legislature’s Public Health Committee earlier this week has painted an alarming picture of classroom environments throughout the state. Dirty air vents, water intrusion, rodent droppings, and black mold have given rise to respiratory ailments, rashes, and debilitating illnesses among students and teachers.

Sharing personal accounts of the conditions in their own classrooms, teachers have been urging lawmakers this legislative session to pass House Bill 5431, An Act Concerning Indoor Air Quality in Schools. If enacted into law, it would improve environmental conditions in classrooms across the state and set minimum and maximum classroom temperatures. Read more

Teachers to Legislators: ‘Our Students Are Screaming Out for Help’

More than 50 Connecticut teachers, together with CEA leaders and staff, provided compelling testimony in support of strengthening a bill on social-emotional learning.

Read more

Share with Legislators Why We Need a Comprehensive Approach to Address Student Trauma

The Education Committee has an important hearing scheduled for Monday, and we need you to share your stories!

Monday’s public hearing will include testimony on legislation related to social and emotional learning in our schools in the form of HB 5378.

While the Education Committee’s proposal contains important pieces, it is not enough. What is truly necessary is a comprehensive approach to address student trauma and promote social emotional learning.

CLICK HERE to submit testimony on this important initiative. Read more

CEA, Others Support Bill Protecting Teachers’ Rights to Stand Together

In a public hearing before Connecticut’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, CEA President Jeff Leake and others voiced their support of House Bill 5270, which protects the rights of teachers and others to join or remain in their union. Among other things, it prevents employers from deterring or discouraging employees from being members of their union or from learning about their union during new employee orientation.

Testifying before the Labor Committee are Rep. Anne Hughes and Attorney Dan Livingston. In a show of support behind them (L-R) are AFSCME Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr, CEUI President Carl Chisem, SEIU 1119 President Rob Baril, CEA President Jeff Leake, and AFT CT President Jan Hochadel.

“The bill we support is important because it ensures that the relationship between unions and their members is collaborative, communicative, and inclusive,” said Leake. “It pushes back against policies that undermine this relationship, and it fights back against individuals with unimaginable wealth who actively spend it to expand their wealth at the expense of the remaining 99% of workers just trying to get by.” Read more

Governor Pledges Support for Students, Families, and Teachers in New Budget, Legislative Session

During his State of the State address today Governor Ned Lamont made a series of pledges aimed at increasing support for Connecticut’s students, families, and teachers and continuing to build on the strides the state has made over the last year.

“Our budget provided predictability to those counting on it most,” he said, adding, “I have heard from school principals, city and town leaders, small businesses and families, all saying, ‘Finally, we can now plan for our future.’” The budget, he noted, made Connecticut’s largest-ever investment in K-12 education, reducing some of the burden on cities and towns and providing teachers with more of the resources they need. Read more

Jahana Hayes Shares Her Journey to Congress With Danbury-Area Teachers

Jahana Hayes may be a Congresswoman now but she still considers herself first and foremost a teacher. The former Waterbury teacher and 2016 National Teacher of the Year met with CEA members from Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District recently in Danbury and shared her journey to becoming a U.S. Representative as well as her priorities in Washington.

CEA President Jeff Leake, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, NEA-Danbury EMAC Chair Luanelly Iglesias, CEA Organizer Herman Whitter, NEA-Danbury President Erin Daly, and NEA-Danbury Vice President Thomas Ross.

Running for Congress had never been in Hayes’ plans, she told the more than 70 teachers gathered at Anthony’s Lake Club in Danbury, until the opportunity suddenly presented itself and she realized the potential the position had to serve educators and further their interests. It was the connections she had with fellow teachers, here in Connecticut and around the nation, that led to her Congressional victory.

Once in Congress Hayes realized that, despite her many years as a teacher, the odds were stacked against her when it came to getting a seat on the House Committee on Education and Labor. As a first-year Congresswoman, she found those with more seniority had priority when it came to committee appointments. Read more