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Posts from the ‘Politics’ Category

Teachers, Parents Calling for Transparency Shut Out of Stratford Board of Education Meeting

Teachers, parents, and community members were shut out of a Stratford Board of Education meeting Monday after the board refused to change venues to a room big enough to accommodate all who wanted to participate.

Public officials are elected to represent the interests of local residents, but members of the Stratford Board of Education abdicated their responsibility to town residents Monday by shutting them out of a public meeting.

Though the board had received notice days in advance that the number of teachers, parents, and community members expected to attend the first meeting of the board, which was elected in November, would exceed the room’s capacity, the board refused to change the venue.

Some teachers, parents, and community members were consequently shut out from participating in their town’s democratic process at a crucial time for Stratford’s schools and students. Read more

Teachers Show What Democracy Looks Like at Connecticut Women’s March

East Hampton teacher Kristen Keska brought the Love Makes Great banner she carried in D.C. at last year’s Women’s March to Hartford this year.

People from around Connecticut gathered Saturday in Hartford for the 2nd annual Connecticut Women’s March—and among the attendees were many teachers.

“As a teacher of government, my favorite chant at these marches is, ‘Show us what democracy looks like? This is what democracy looks like!'” said East Hampton teacher Kristen Keska, who traveled to D.C. last year for the Women’s March there.

Read more

Our Students Can’t Wait: Teachers Send Letter to Legislators Urging Restoration of ECS Funds

CEA President Sheila Cohen and AFT-Connecticut President Jan Hochadel today sent a letter to legislators urging them to convene a special session to restore ECS funding. Severe cuts in education funding are devastating the state’s public schools and shortchanging students’ education.

Governor Malloy recently cut an additional $58 million in ECS funding, and more cuts are planned in the new year. As Connecticut’s cities and towns struggle to make up these costs, many are planning to cut school resources, eliminate educational programs, and lay off teachers.

Read the letter below. Read more

Teachers Join Senator Blumenthal in Opposition to GOP Tax Plan

Senator Blumenthal, teacher and State Rep. Joshua Hall, and West Hartford teacher Theresa McKeown spoke out against the proposal to eliminate the educator expense deduction at a press conference today at West Middle School in Hartford.

When West Hartford teacher and local Association president Theresa McKeown heard that the Republican tax plan would eliminate the popular educator expense deduction she wanted to find out what this would mean for her colleagues.

Most teachers told her they spend $500 to $1,000 annually out-of-pocket on supplies for their classrooms—considerably above the $250 the federal government currently allows teachers to deduct from their taxes.

And what do teachers spend that money on? The list McKeown compiled is long and includes winter coats, hats, mittens, boots, calculators, binders, magazine subscriptions, snacks for students who have none, and meals to send home with students over the weekend. Read more

GOP Tax Plan Bad for Students and Teachers: Contact Your U.S. Senators and Representatives

The tax plan released by House Republican leaders and backed by President Trump is a bad deal for middle-class families and students across the country. It is a $5 trillion tax plan that gives away huge tax breaks for the wealthiest and corporations, while putting middle-class families at risk of higher taxes.

The plan eliminates the popular educator tax deduction that allows teachers to deduct eligible out-of-pocket classroom spending up to $250. Congress made this deduction permanent in 2015. Almost every educator pays out of pocket for school supplies. In fact, one estimate shows that educators spend between $500 and $1000 a year out of pocket. 3.7 million tax returns filed in 2015 claimed the educator tax deduction.

Connecticut’s congressional delegation recognizes the harm this tax plan would inflict on teachers and middle-class families and strongly oppose it. Watch what they had to say last night about why the plan is wrong for Connecticut and the country. Read more

Get Out Tuesday and Vote!

Municipal elections don’t receive the same attention as state or national elections, but that doesn’t mean they are any less important.

Tomorrow voters around Connecticut will have a chance to elect candidates for board of education, town council, finance committee, mayor, and many other municipal offices. These elected officials will have a big say in how their town and school district are run in the years ahead.

As New Canaan teacher Kristine Goldhawk says, “What you teach in the classroom is affected by all of our representatives at the federal level, the state level, and at the local level. They will impact what you are teaching, how you are able to teach, and how many tests you have to give.”

Polls will be open tomorrow from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Look up your polling place here.

CEA, Teachers, Students, Parents, and Municipalities Withdraw Lawsuit

The Connecticut Education Association, the city of Torrington, the towns of Brooklyn, Stratford, and Plainfield, as well as teachers, students, and parents in those municipalities withdrew their lawsuit against the state today. The group was seeking an injunction against the governor’s executive order that cut $557 million in education funding to cities and towns.

“On Tuesday, the governor signed the bipartisan budget into law, ending the draconian education cuts that jeopardized our students’ futures,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “With the new budget, millions in education funding will be restored to cities and towns across the state, and a new commission will help secure the equitable distribution of funds in the future.”

Under the executive order, all four municipalities in the lawsuit sustained major cuts. The new budget, however, restores 95 percent of education funding to the majority of cities and towns across the state, including the four municipalities named in the court action. Read more

CEA to Legislators: Yes, It Is a Teacher Tax

CEA President Sheila Cohen today sent a letter to legislators explaining why teachers oppose the teacher payroll tax in the latest budget proposal.

Some legislators have been telling teachers the increased pension contribution is not a tax. Read the letter below to understand why it is, in fact, a tax—a tax that unfairly targets teachers.

Then click here and contact your legislators.

Dear Legislator,

I am writing to express my appreciation for your work this session under very difficult budgetary circumstances. CEA also appreciates the work that leadership in both parties have invested into the tentative bipartisan budget agreement.

You may question why CEA opposes the increase in the teacher payroll tax from six to seven percent. That is a fair question, and I want to share with you facts about the payroll tax increase so that we are all on the same page. Read more

Teachers Speak Out Against the Teacher Tax

Thousands of teachers are emailing their legislators about the teacher tax in the latest state budget proposal. Please click here and join them.

Then read a statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen and watch why your colleagues say the teacher tax is unfair.

STATEMENT FROM CEA PRESIDENT SHEILA COHEN ON TEACHER TAX

Teachers stand together, unequivocally opposed to a teacher tax. It will not help balance the state budget and can and must be eliminated.

Over the years, the state has not fully funded or paid its share of the teacher retirement plan— which, at 4.56%, is less than what teachers have contributed for decades. It is unfair to punish teachers with an increase in the payroll tax to pay a portion of the state’s share.

Some legislators are saying the increase in the teacher retirement payroll tax is not a tax increase. Of course it is a tax increase! Teachers should not be punished for the state’s mistakes.

Teachers do not receive Social Security and are dependent on their retirement fund. Legislators must keep their promise to teachers, who have fully funded their fair share of teacher retirement for decades.

Teacher Tax Back in Latest Budget Proposal

Legislative leaders have a new budget proposal, and once again it targets teachers with an unnecessary and unfair tax. We need you to contact your legislators today and tell them to keep their promise to teachers.

Click here to contact your legislators.

Tell legislators to remove the teacher tax from the budget before voting on it next week.

  • This is an unfair tax targeting teachers.
  • The tax on teachers will not help balance the state budget and can and must be eliminated.
  • Teachers should not have to pay for the state’s mistakes.

Click here to also contact the House and Senate leaders.

Click here for speaking points.