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Posts from the ‘Politics’ Category

It’s National Voter Registration Day—Are You Registered?

Millions of Americans miss out on the opportunity to vote every year because they don’t meet deadlines or don’t know how to register. National Voter Registration Day attempts to right this wrong and make sure every person who is eligible to vote and wants to do so is registered.

National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan effort focused on our right as citizens to vote and have our voices heard. If you aren’t registered, or you know someone who isn’t, please check out the information below. Read more

Lessons on Involvement and Activism Focus of CEA-Retired Conference

CEA-Retired President William Murray introduced State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, a speaker at today’s CEA-Retired fall conference.

“As you know, many groups out there in the wider world, don’t like unions but they also don’t like pensions. They’re out to cut down pensions and undermine them in whatever way they can,” CEA Executive Director Donald Williams told CEA-Retired members at their annual fall conference this morning.

Luckily Connecticut active and retired teachers understand how important it is to have their voices heard in the political process and turned out in record numbers for last year’s state elections—electing many pro-public education candidates, including State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, one of the speakers at today’s conference.

“Last year we elected a treasurer who successfully fought to reamortize the Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement Fund while preserving pension benefits,” said CEA-Retired President William Murray. Read more

Congressman Courtney’s Bill to Repeal Health Care Tax Passes House

Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney has been fighting for a decade to repeal a tax on health care plans. His bill overwhelmingly passed the House this week.

This week the U.S. House of Representatives voted 419-6 to approve Congressman Joe Courtney’s Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019. This bill would do away with a looming tax on higher-cost health care plans that would disproportionately affect those in high cost of living areas and groups with higher percentages of women, people with families, and older employees.

“Teachers have continued to accept salary freezes and cuts in order to save their health care coverage,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “This tax would be devastating for educators, and we thank Congressman Courtney for his advocacy.” Read more

State Board of Ed Recommends Dr. Miguel Cardona as CT’s Next Education Commissioner

Dr. Miguel Cardona and CEA President Jeff Leake.

The State Board of Education today voted to recommend Dr. Miguel Cardona, assistant superintendent of schools for teaching and learning in Meriden, to serve as the next commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Education. Cardona, a former fourth grade teacher who is bilingual, has served alongside CEA leaders on several statewide committees.

“The Connecticut Education Association applauds the appointment of Dr. Miguel Cardona as Connecticut’s Education Commissioner,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “We have worked with Dr. Cardona in our efforts to establish cultures of professional learning and support in our local districts. Our experience with him indicates that he will be an energetic, progressive, and collaborative leader, sensitive to the needs of urban districts and students but mindful of the needs of all of Connecticut’s students and districts. We are looking forward to working with him to achieve equity and excellence for all Connecticut students by reducing racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in all of Connecticut’s school districts.” Read more

Bridgeport Teacher Testifies Before Congress on How to Stop the Teacher Shortage

Bridgeport teacher Michael Brosnan testified before joint Congressional subcommittees today.

Bridgeport is Connecticut’s largest school district, serving more than 23,0000 students, but the Bridgeport Public Schools have an annual teacher attrition rate of 10-12 percent. Today Bridgeport teacher and early leadership institute coach Michael Brosnan told members of Congress that, “While welcoming fresh faces each year, or in the middle of each year, was certainly a pleasure, it did little for school stability or student achievement.”

Brosnan was speaking at a joint hearing of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment titled Educating our Educators: How Federal Policy Can Better Support Teachers and School Leaders.

“We’re plagued by perpetual underfunding and that means we face many obstacles. Recruiting teachers and retaining them is one of them,” Brosnan said. Read more

CEA Members Head to Houston to Represent CT Colleagues

CEA-Retired President Gloria Brown, CEA President Jeff Leake, and CEA-Aspiring Educators Chair Katie Grant are ready for the NEA RA.

CEA members are trading warm Connecticut temperatures for the truly hot weather of Houston this week—all in the name of representing their fellow teachers at the NEA Representative Assembly (NEA RA).

More than 100 CEA members are joining the nearly 7,000 elected delegates who are representing their colleagues around the nation. The world’s largest deliberative body is meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center this year.

A highlights of this year’s RA will be a Presidential Forum from 3-5 p.m. EDT on July 5, where a number of 2020 presidential candidates will answer questions submitted by NEA members about the future of public education. Confirmed attendees include former Vice President Joe Biden, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Sen. Kamala Harris, Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Rep. Tim Ryan, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Read more

Your Advocacy Made the Difference This Legislative Session

The 2019 Connecticut legislative session ended at midnight last night, and, thanks to your advocacy, we were successful at achieving some of our top priorities.

Watch CEA Executive Director Don Williams’ summary of what we accomplished this session.

Safeguarding Teacher Pensions

The General Assembly has passed a fair, responsible state budget that ensures the long-term security of teacher pensions. Read more

Bridgeport Students Meet Governor, Congresswoman During Trip to Capitol

The bilingual Talented and Gifted (TAG) program at Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport aims to engage students, give them leadership skills, and expose them to the world outside their classrooms. TAG teacher Ana Batista’s seventh and eighth graders got all that and more on a recent trip to the State Capitol where they had the opportunity to be recognized on the House floor, meet state representatives from Bridgeport, and have their photo taken with Governor Ned Lamont and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.

Ana Bridgeport students at Capitol

Bridgeport students from Cesar Batalla’s bilingual Talented and Gifted program and their teacher Ana Batista (at right) had the chance to meet U.S. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and Governor Ned Lamont during a recent trip to the Capitol.

The Greater Bridgeport Latino Network organized the trip for the students on Bridgeport Day at the Capitol, which began with State Rep Christopher Rosario showing them around the building and explaining the work of the legislature. The students were then ushered onto the floor of the House, where they saw Bridgeport’s newest State Rep. Antonio Felipe, a former Cesar Batalla student himself, sworn in. Read more

Labor Community Celebrates Signing of $15 Minimum Wage Bill

“Connecticut just got a raise,” state Senator Julie Kushner told the crowd assembled this morning to watch Governor Ned Lamont sign into law a bill that will increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Kushner, a retired union organizer, said that she has bargained contracts for five workers and 5,000 workers; however, “Never before did I have the experience of earning a raise for 332,000 people.”

At the Parkville Care Center in Hartford this morning, advocates, workers, business leaders, lawmakers, and labor leaders (including CEA President Jeff Leake at far left) gathered for the signing of minimum wage legislation.

Rep. Robyn Porter who, along with Kushner, spearheaded this year’s effort to pass the measure, said the struggle to pass this bill was a personal one for her.

“I have been that single mom working three jobs to take care of my kids,” she said. Referencing her defense of the bill during a marathon 14-hour debate on the floor of the House, Porter said, “I was going to stand for as long as it took, because I understood the difference this will make in people’s lives.” Read more

Legislators Need to Hear from You: No Cost Shift

Legislators are still considering a proposal to shift the cost of teacher retirement onto cities and towns—and they need to hear from you. If this plan passes there will be less money for our schools, higher property taxes (especially in middle-income towns and Alliance districts), and districts with more experienced teachers will be penalized.

Contact your legislators now and tell them: NO Cost Shift