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Posts from the ‘Politics’ Category

Teachers Speak Up, Share Stories With Legislators: Join Them

Teachers have a lot to say on issues from their pensions to classroom safety this legislative session, which is why local associations around Connecticut are meeting with their legislators and making their voices heard.

Hamden Education Association members including President Diane Marinaro, standing at right, had a number of questions for Rep. Mike D’Agostino, Rep. Josh Elliott, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, and Senator George Logan.

“Politicians make decisions that affect our students and our profession,” says Hamden Education Association Vice President David Abate. “Sitting back and waiting isn’t a solution. I don’t like politics, but for legislators to know what’s going on in our schools they have to hear from teachers.” Read more

Tell Your Legislators: No Cost Shift

A proposal before the legislature would shift a portion of the state’s teacher pension system costs onto cities and towns. If this plan were to pass, cities and towns would be left with less funding for schools, and teachers’ future salaries and health benefits would be negatively impacted.

Contact your legislators today and urge them to STOP the proposal to shift the state’s responsibility for teacher retirement to our towns.

Under this proposal (Sec. 6 of House Bill 7150), most towns would be responsible for 25 percent of the “normal” retirement costs (i.e. annual retirement costs excluding unfunded liabilities). Towns with higher average pensionable salaries would contribute more, and the 25 least wealthy municipalities would contribute five percent of their associated normal cost.

Click here to see your town. Read more

Hayes Sponsors Legislation Against Arming Teachers

U.S. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes today returned to the school in Waterbury where she taught for fifteen years to highlight legislation she has introduced to keep guns out of classrooms. Joined by students, teachers, parents, and other members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation in front of Kennedy High School, Hayes said she scheduled the event after school, at a school, because, “For far too long, these conversations have been happening without the input of those most directly affected.”

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes stood outside John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury today with students, teachers, parents, and community members to highlight legislation she has introduced to keep guns out of classrooms.

Hayes recently sponsored a resolution in the House aimed at blocking the use of federal education grants to arm teachers. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy sponsored similar legislation in the Senate. Recommendations by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ School Safety Commission have left the door open for districts to use federal funds to arm teachers, and the Connecticut lawmakers want to ensure taxpayer dollars will never be used for this purpose.

“Teachers should not have to worry about securing a firearm in a school, or being trained to use a firearm in a high-pressure situation,” says Hayes. Read more

Education Community Saddened by Loss of State Representative

CEA sends condolences to the family, friends, and constituents of State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago, who passed away last night. Santiago was a leader in the state’s Latino community. He brought people together around important causes and was a champion of community schools. We will miss his advocacy for and commitment to the people of Bridgeport.

 

Teachers Urge Legislators to Support Community Schools, Minority Teacher Recruitment

Community schools, minority teacher recruitment and retention, the opportunity gap, and school literacy were just some of the issues members of the legislature’s Education Committee heard public input on today.

CEA members, leaders, and staff testified on a number of bills, ensuring teachers’ perspective was heard.

Read more

CEA Raises Concerns about School Regionalization, Teacher Pensions, ECS Changes, and More

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CEA’s Jeff Leake, Kate Field, Orlando Rodriguez, and Ray Rossomando prepare to testify on a number of proposals with major implications for teachers, students, and school communities.

Teachers’ livelihoods and retirement security as well as educational outcomes for students are top priorities for the state’s largest teachers union. That’s why CEA staff and leaders came out to testify before the legislature’s Education Committee about various cost-cutting proposals that threaten those very priorities.

“We are fully aware of the need to right Connecticut’s financial ship,” CEA President Jeff Leake told the committee, “but that cannot be done by expecting local governments to fund the necessary payments into the Teachers’ Retirement System.” Cities and towns, he reminded lawmakers, are still struggling financially, and shifting the state’s responsibility for funding teacher retirement onto municipalities “is not the answer.” He proposed instead that the Connecticut Lottery be placed into the pension fund as a way of smoothing out payments into the TRS and reducing the state’s unfunded liability. Read more

Statement from CEA President Jeff Leake on Governor Lamont’s Budget Address

CEA supports sensible ways of assisting the state in its efforts to make up for decades of underfunding teachers’ retirement, including the governor and treasurer’s plan to smooth out the state’s payments to the fund over a longer period of time and lower the investment earning assumption to a more realistic rate. Teachers have consistently paid their fair share into the fund—while the state has not—and teachers had their payments increase nearly 20 percent last year.

However, we oppose any teacher retirement cost shift that transfers millions in costs from the state to our cities and towns, putting additional financial strain on taxpayers and pressure on already tight school budgets. The plan to shift the cost of teacher retirement contributions onto our cities and towns didn’t sit well with Connecticut taxpayers, legislators, and municipalities in 2017—because it placed additional financial burdens on cities and towns and property owners—and it doesn’t sit well with them today. Read more

CEA Members, Leaders, Staff Testify Before Black and Puerto Rican Caucus

Teachers, CEA leaders, and staff testified yesterday before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus on issues critical to teachers this legislative session. These issues included school climate, classroom safety, the persistent shortage of ethnic minority educators, and funding for public schools.

CEA members and staff, including CEA Research and Policy Development Specialist Orlando Rodriguez, CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas, Westport educator Faith Sweeney, community organizer Shamare Holmes Bridgeport teacher Tiffany Ladson-Lang, and Stratford teacher Kristen Record shared CEA priorities with the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus yesterday.

“It is vitally important that members of the caucus hear from teachers and get a clearer understanding of what’s happening every day in our schools,” says CEA Director of Government Relations Ray Rossomando. “Teachers came from every corner of the state and stayed late into the evening, on a school night, to testify before their elected officials about what matters most to their students, their profession, and the communities where they teach. That has an impact.” Read more

Crisis in the Classroom: Legislators Need to Hear From You

Many Connecticut children are losing out on learning time when disruptive behavior from another student continually interrupts the school day. Problematic student behavior is a major problem in our schools, but many legislators aren’t aware of what’s happening in your classroom. They need to hear your stories.

On Friday, February 22, the legislature’s Education Committee will be holding a public hearing on legislation that protects students and teachers from dangerous situations in the classroom, and provides support and services for students who act out. Legislators need to hear from you!

Click here to submit written testimony now.

You can submit your story under your own name, or anonymously.

If you are interested in testifying and sharing your story in person with the Education Committee on February 22, please contact myvoice@cea.org.

Disrupted Learning: Oregon Teachers Share Their Stories, and You Can Too

There’s a crisis of disrupted learning not just in Connecticut, but across the U.S., and the Oregon Education Association today released a report on the conditions students and educators are facing in schools.

Some Oregon teachers talked to a local news station about the disruptions they face daily.

Teachers in Connecticut experience many of these same situations, but legislators are unaware of the severity and pervasiveness of the problem.

Share your own story (anonymously if you so choose) to make legislators aware of the need for action to make classrooms safe for all students and teachers.

To arrange for a teacher-legislator get-together in your district, contact your local association president and CEA’s Chris Donovan or Robyn Kaplan-Cho.