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Posts from the ‘Professional Issues’ Category

Teachers Share With Legislators Heartfelt Stories of Being Assaulted

CEA UniServ Reps Sue Fulleton and Mike Casey, Norwich teacher Heidi Kapszukiewicz, and Manchester school social worker Charity Korb were some of the CEA members and staff who testified on student assault at a legislative hearing last night.

Although it was after ten o’clock last night by the time the legislature’s Education Committee heard public testimony on a bill to help ensure classroom safety and address student assaults, CEA members and staff made sure they were present to testify so that legislators could hear their stories.

“I am here today to tell you that there is a crisis in many schools across Connecticut related to student and teacher safety. And although it might seem incredulous, the majority of the most serious safety issues are occurring in elementary classrooms, including in pre-kindergarten,” CEA Program Development Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho told legislators.

With increasing frequency, teachers are reporting being assaulted by students in their classrooms. From being kicked, bitten, and knocked down to having chairs and books thrown at them, teachers are dealing with a sharp rise in aggressive student behavior that impacts not only educators, but also students. Read more

Teacher Safety: Information and Resources from CEA

Every educator has the right to a safe working environment. As your union, CEA wants to ensure that if you are threatened or assaulted at school, appropriate steps are taken to protect you.

That’s why we’ve made resources available to you on the CEA website—everything from reporting forms to model contract language to information about scheduling a CEA workshop. These resources aim to educate you about your rights and provide your local Association with the necessary tools to address your safety concerns.

If you have specific concerns about your safety, don’t wait. Contact your local president or CEA UniServ Representative.

Professional Development Just Got Better

CEA is proud to announce we are a State Department of Education designated provider of professional development.

As part of a recent push to provide teachers with meaningful professional learning rather than strictly compliance-based training, CEA has developed a catalog of Professional Learning Academy workshops that can be incorporated into your school or district’s formal PD days or offered separately. These will be offered at little or no cost.

For more information or to schedule a professional development workshop, contact CEA’s Professional Learning Academy at 860-525-5641 or

PEAC Acts on Teachers’ Concerns: Mastery Exam Results Cannot Be Used in Evaluations

CEA President Sheila Cohen and CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, who both serve on PEAC, said mastery tests are not designed for the evaluation of teachers or administrators.

The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) yesterday took a giant step forward in addressing teachers’ concerns regarding the use of state mastery examination results in teacher evaluations. PEAC defined the clear use and purpose of the state mastery exam, agreeing that it should not be used to evaluate teachers.

PEAC unanimously agreed to recommend new guidelines for educator support and evaluation programs to the State Board of Education. These new guidelines support the use of state mastery test scores to inform educator goal setting and to inform professional development planning, but prohibit their use as a measure of goal attainment or in the calculation of the summative rating for an educator. Read more

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