With less than four weeks left until Election Day, dozens of CEA members, staff, and leaders—joined by NEA Vice President Becky Pringle—came out to Danbury this weekend in a show of support for 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes, who is running for office in Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District.
Congressional candidate Jahana Hayes, a former Waterbury teacher, is championed by NEA Vice President Becky Pringle and CEA President Jeff Leake.
“Everything is at stake,” Hayes told the crowd, referring to mounting threats to public education and teachers’ rights to bargain for fair wages and working conditions. “I represent a lot of people—the voices of a lot of people—who are saying, ‘No, we will not accept this. No, this is not O.K. This has to change, and we will not be forgotten.’ And there’s so much responsibility in that.”
Pringle, a middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, captured the current education struggle with the words of W.E.B. Dubois, who said, “The freedom to learn has been bought by bitter sacrifice. So whatever you might think about the curtailment of other civil rights, you must fight to the last ditch to keep open the right to learn.” Read more
Representatives from the Danbury Prospect Charter School discuss their proposal with the State Board of Education.
The State Board of Education today voted to give preliminary approval to two new charter schools, but those charters can only open if they can convince legislators to fund them.
In past years, charter schools that had applications approved by the State Board of Education went forward and enrolled students before receiving funding from the state, pressuring legislators into providing the funding. The legislature has since made it clear that that process is unacceptable and that no students can be enrolled until a school is funded.
CEA President Jeff Leake spoke out against the charter school applications at today’s meeting, saying, “CEA believes that charter schools should be non-profit, publicly accountable, transparent, and operate without diverting public funds from neighborhood public schools or to third-party management organizations.” Read more
The Connecticut Education Association today released its first-ever Legislator Report Card that evaluates legislative candidates’ overall support for issues important to students, teachers, and public education. CEA’s new report card recognizes legislators who are committed to giving students more opportunities for success and are working hard to improve public education and the teaching profession in Connecticut.
The report card evaluates legislators’ voting records, as well as their advocacy and efforts to advance CEA priorities over the past two-year legislative cycle. These priorities include funding public education, preserving collective bargaining, enhancing the teaching profession, protecting the pension system, keeping schools safe, upholding teacher certification standards, and supporting sound education policy.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to public education and teachers’ rights, many legislators took actions in the wrong direction and earned less-than-stellar grades,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “This new report card system is transparent and holds candidates accountable. It informs our members of the candidates’ positions on key issues and highlights those who want to help our students and teachers, and those who are doing harm to them.” Read more
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.
How to register to vote in Connecticut
You can register to vote online if you have a current and valid driver’s license, learner’s permit, or non-driver photo identification card issued by the CT Department of Motor Vehicles.
You can use the online system to (1) register to vote in Connecticut, (2) change your name and/or address if you’ve moved within a town, or (3) enroll in a political party or change party enrollment (changing parties may result in losing rights in all parties for three months).
If you move, you must re-register to vote in person in your new town of residence. Read more
CEA Program Development Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho and CEA Executive Director Donald Williams serve on the Classroom Safety Working Group
At its second meeting today, the classroom safety working group continued an ongoing discussion seeking to come to agreement on language for a bill that could be raised by the General Assembly in 2019.
The group, which was created after Governor Malloy vetoed a classroom safety bill that had resoundingly passed the state House and Senate last spring, has been offering feedback on a new draft bill authored by CEA.
CEA Executive Director Donald Williams reminded group members of the critical nature of their task.
“The Connecticut General Assembly last legislative session heard extensive testimony from teachers about the increase in problematic student behaviors that are causing harm to other students and teachers,” Williams said. Read more
Teachers around Connecticut are wearing Red For Ed today in support of our Arizona colleagues who have requested we observe today as national #RedForEd day.
This day of solidarity is in reaction to the unprecedented decision by the Arizona State Supreme Court to remove the Invest In ED ballot measure from the November ballot. This measure, if enacted, would have raised nearly $700 million for Arizona’s badly underfunded public schools.
Thank you to those of you who have already shared your #RedForEd photos—and if you haven’t yet, there’s still time.
Visit the CEA Facebook page and add your photos.
Here are some of the photos your Connecticut colleagues have already shared today.
CEA Retirement Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho is serving on the state’s Pension Sustainability Commission to represent teachers.
The state’s unfunded pension liability will surely be discussed at length this election season, but a state commission created by the legislature is already at work this summer exploring ways to address the problem.
The Connecticut Pension Sustainability Commission is charged with studying “the feasibility of placing state capital assets in a trust and maximizing those assets for the sole benefit of the state pension system.”
CEA Retirement Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho serves on the commission, representing teachers. “Placing a state asset, such as the Connecticut lottery, into the Teachers’ Retirement Fund would dramatically reduce the state’s unfunded liability. That would allow the state to reduce its yearly payment into the fund since there would be less unfunded liability to pay off,” she says. Read more
At a rally this weekend, Jahana Hayes thanks teachers and other union members for their support. For more rally photos, visit CEA’s Flickr page.
Chanting “Labor is your neighbor,” dozens of union members—including fellow educators—gathered on the Meriden town green Saturday to show their support for teacher-turned-Congressional-candidate Jahana Hayes. Hayes is vying for the House seat in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District.
A former Waterbury educator and Connecticut Teacher of the Year, Hayes was named National Teacher of the Year in 2016 and spent the following year traveling across the country, advocating on behalf of public education, and listening to educators, administrators, community leaders, and others about issues that impact students, families, and communities.
“Jahana is a strong champion and advocate for Connecticut students and teachers,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “She has overcome numerous challenges and has taken every opportunity to improve her own life and the lives of others. She is exactly the type of person we need fighting for all of us in Congress.” Read more
Legislators failed to protect students and teachers—and lost the best chance Connecticut has had to increase classroom safety for all students and reduce discriminatory discipline for students of color and special education students—when they failed today to override Governor Malloy’s veto of the classroom safety bill.
“It is truly disheartening that legislators and the governor denied protections for the safety of students and teachers, and proactive supports to help students who cause physical injury to others,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “The only way to end the school-to-prison pipeline is to take actions that hold administrators accountable for ensuring that students receive the resources they need. We are disappointed that legislators, who passed this bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, failed to override the governor’s veto and enact this bill into law.”