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Posts from the ‘Professional Issues’ Category

Be Ready to Act to Support Public Education: Join Your Colleagues

Kathryn Noonan, a first year teacher in Stonington, said she thinks it's especially important for new teachers to get involved.

Kathryn Noonan, a first year teacher in Stonington, said she thinks it’s especially important for new teachers to get involved.

The unprecedented number of calls and emails U.S. senators have received in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education make it clear that teachers understand the outsized role that policy and politics can play in their classrooms.

It’s not just national lawmakers and decisions at the federal level that influence what happens in our schools, however. Often state-level decisions can shape Connecticut schools to a greater degree than federal policies do.

That’s why grassroots organizing and activism here in Connecticut by those who know public education best—teachers—is so critical for ensuring high-quality public education for all Connecticut students. Read more

CEA Stronger Together: Listening, Learning & Addressing Teacher Concerns

Teachers, parents, and students in Vernon are gathering for a show of solidarity and a “walk-in” at Rockville High School tomorrow to draw attention to the need for the state to fully fund education for all students.

It’s part of a nationwide effort to support public education. Schools in Manchester and Bridgeport will also participate in the walk-ins sponsored by NEA and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools.

Burlington, VT teacher Andrew Styles and Vernon teacher Peter Borofsky (right) stopped to talk to East Haven teacher Kathleen Pyne at her home this summer.

Burlington, VT teacher Andrew Styles and Vernon teacher Peter Borofsky (right) stopped to talk to East Haven teacher Kathleen Pyne at her home this summer to find out what issues are on her mind.

The Vernon Education Association (VEA) expects teacher participation to be high—but that’s not due to luck. It’s because of CEA support for the local Association’s efforts to listen and respond to members’ concerns.

“After we learned how to hold organizing conversations last year from CEA Training and Organizational Development Specialist Joe Zawawi we went out and talked to a significant number of our members,” said VEA President and Rockville High teacher Peter Borofsky. Read more

Help Improve CT Education Policies: Come to a CEA Forum This October

Please print and share with others in your local Association.

An unprecedented Superior Court decision has sent shockwaves across the education community in Connecticut. Meanwhile, the long arm of the federal government is reaching into schools with the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). There has never been a more pressing time for teachers to band together and speak out to influence once-in-a-generation judicial, legislative, and regulatory issues.

That’s why CEA is hosting County Forums around the state this October. Attend to

  • Learn the latest on how CCJEF and ESSA would impact our classrooms.
  • Speak out for our students and our profession.
  • Meet with legislators to share our concerns.

Register to attend a forum. Read more

East Hartford Teachers Strengthen Professional Skills to Benefit Students

IB World Rebecca Tubbs, Laura Griffin, Lia Hickey, and Darcy Noble Malone.

East Hartford kindergarten teachers Rebecca Tubbs, Laura Griffin, Lia Hickey, and Darcy Malone at the I Teach K! conference this summer.

When it comes to professional development, research shows that sustained, job-embedded, collaborative professional learning opportunities are most likely to help teachers better support students. The opposite of a morning lecture on a generic subject, this type of learning opportunity requires a substantial time commitment and a focus on the specific skills teachers need for their content area.

It’s just the type of professional development East Hartford kindergarten teachers Laura Griffin, Darcy Malone, Lia Hickey, and Rebecca Tubbs were able to participate in this summer thanks to a grant from the Fund for Teachers.

“I feel like kindergarten is kind of a stand-alone grade,” said Hickey. “It’s very different from pre-K and very different from first grade.” Read more

New Guidelines Spell Out Importance of Union Voice in Teacher Evaluation

New guidelinesnew PDEC guidelines distributed to superintendents this week have the potential to increase the effectiveness of local Professional Development and Evaluation Committees (PDECs) and ensure teachers’ voices are heard in discussions about teacher evaluation and professional learning.

The guidelines were developed by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) after CEA and AFT-Connecticut brought teachers’ concerns to the council.

“Most districts want to follow what is required by statute, but sometimes there is confusion or districts aren’t aware of what is required,” said CEA Teacher Development Specialist Kate Field. “I’ve found in my work with local Associations that there are often teachers and administrators who aren’t aware that there needs to be a representative from the local bargaining unit on the PDEC.” Read more

New Master’s Degree Requirement Only Applies to New Graduates

_MG_3349A law that just went into effect will impact teachers getting their first Connecticut educator certificate on or after July 1, 2016, but educators who already hold a Connecticut educator certificate will not be impacted.

In 2012, the Connecticut General Assembly passed new legislation requiring a master’s degree to advance most provisional level educator certificates to the professional level. Connecticut General Statutes, Section 10-145b (g), state that “on or after July 1, 2016, to qualify for a professional educator certificate, a person who holds or has held a provisional educator certificate… shall hold a master’s degree in an appropriate subject matter area, as determined by the State Board of Education, related to such teacher’s certification endorsement area.” Read more

National Teacher of the Year Talks Evaluations, Ranking Schools, and Giving Back

Jahana Hayes spoke at a pep rally in her honor at John F. Kennedy High School after being named National Teacher of the Year.

History teacher Jahana Hayes spoke at a pep rally in her honor at John F. Kennedy High School after being named National Teacher of the Year.

“There’s this common misconception that teachers don’t like evaluation, and that’s not accurate at all,” National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes told WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil.

In an interview yesterday on Where We Live, Hayes touched on many aspects of her teaching career at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, her experiences growing up, and what it’s been like to be thrust onto the national stage. A long list of news outlets have featured Hayes and her inspiring story since she was named National Teacher of the Year earlier this month, however Nalpathanchil also probed into Hayes’ thoughts on current education policies and issues. Read more

PEAC Looks to Waiver Districts, Considers Increased Flexibility

Weston Superintendent Colleen Palmer shared her districts teacher evaluatoin plan with PEAC members.

Weston Superintendent Colleen Palmer shared her district’s teacher evaluation plan with PEAC members.

When it comes to compliance with the state teacher evaluation guidelines, some districts are in a class by themselves. These are the school districts that developed locally grown evaluation plans that didn’t entirely comply with state guidelines and then received “waivers” from the SDE to implement them.

Weston and LEARN are two examples. And they’ve caught the attention of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC).

PEAC is considering additional ways to increase flexibility to districts and, at a meeting Thursday, members heard from districts in Connecticut that are already provided greater flexibility in their teacher evaluation plans. Read more

Why We Opt-Out: CT Black & Latino Parents Discuss SBAC

A panel at Trinity College

A room full of parents, students, educators, and community members listened to a panel at Trinity College discuss problems with SBAC and test prep in urban public schools.

Although much of the media coverage surrounding parents opting their children out of state tests has focused on white, suburban parents, these families are not alone in taking a stand against tests they see as having no value for their children or schools.

At a panel discussion last week at Trinity College, Black and Latino parents shared their own stories of opting their children out of SBAC and talked about the lost instructional time and excessive test prep students and schools are facing.
Read more

New CEA TV Ad Steps Up Campaign Against Unreliable Testing

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Many CEA members are featured in a new commercial about the problems with unreliable testing.

Teachers are turning up the volume on the problem of unreliable testing that has overtaken Connecticut public school classrooms.

“We are airing new TV and digital ads that raise awareness—from parents to policymakers—about the need to reduce testing and test prep and restore more time for learning in our classrooms to help every student achieve,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen.

“As Connecticut’s largest teacher organization, we have stepped up and spoken out consistently about the problems associated with the SBAC test. Now we are taking our efforts to a new level with our advertising campaign,” she said.

Connecticut teachers are relentless in their focus on student growth and achievement despite the state’s ill-advised and misguided support of the unfair, invalid, and unreliable SBAC test. Read more