Avon High School students Jaya and Dheepa Hari demonstrate their latest app, MyMedWallet, alongside their mentor and computer science teacher Jeanine LaBrosse.
Connecticut high school students showed off their computing chops at a legislative reception honoring the winners of the Congressional App Challenge. The event—in which winners from each of the state’s five congressional districts exhibited their work at the State Capitol and demonstrated for legislative leaders what’s happening with computer science education in their schools—was hosted by the Connecticut Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association, whose goal is to increase computer science education in public schools and help level the playing field for students.
Fear of the subject, a lack of interest, and busy schedules are typically the top reasons students shy away from computer science, says Connecticut CSTA member Patrice Gans, who helped organize the event. She adds that computer science educators are helping break down some of those barriers. Read more
After a city official disparaged public schools as “subsidized taxpayer-funded day care,” Norwich teachers, parents, and other school supporters turned out at a rally to set the record straight and demand a fair budget for their students’ education. The rally was held Monday night, prior to a budget hearing at Norwich City Hall.
Councilwoman Joanne Philbrick’s recent characterization of public schools as “day care,” along with other controversial comments she made about support services children receive at school, were met with widespread criticism, as was the city council’s 4-3 vote to strike down a school budget increase. Read more
Nearly 400 teachers gathered at the Mohegan Sun Expo and Convention Center last night to begin setting policy and electing new leaders at the 171st Connecticut Education Association Representative Assembly (CEA RA). The CEA RA is the Association’s highest policymaking body.
CEA President Jeff Leake and Vice President Tom Nicholas congratulate Stephanie Wanzer on her reelection to the position of CEA secretary and David Jedidian (at right) on his election to the position of CEA treasurer.
CEA President Jeff Leake opened with a warm acknowledgement of teachers’ hard work and dedication. Read more
Nearly 40 educators met and mingled at the first-ever Hartford Regional Ethnic Minority Teacher Social hosted by CEA on Monday. The event was an opportunity for teachers of color to network, discuss ways of diversifying a predominantly white teaching force in Connecticut, and explore avenues for becoming more involved at all levels of the union—from their local and state associations to NEA.
“This was a great event,” said CREC teacher Anjanee Wright. “I got to meet other educators I wouldn’t necessarily have a chance to meet because we work in different districts. It was a good opportunity to talk to each other.” Read more
CREC Education Association President Lisa Cordova testifies before the State Board of Education about a new program to recruit, prepare, and train ethnic minority teachers.
CEA is developing and supporting a number of initiatives—from public policy to practice—to ensure that Connecticut’s teaching force better reflects the diversity of its student population.
Lisa Cordova, president of the CREC Education Association, testified this morning before members of the State Board of Education about one such initiative—created by CREC—that is aimed at recruiting, preparing, and retaining greater numbers of ethnic minority teachers.
“We hope you share our enthusiasm for our program and grant us the opportunity to begin in June,” she told the Board.
The CREC Teacher Residency Program would place highly qualified minority teaching candidates with active class practitioners—exemplary CREC teachers who would mentor and guide them in sound instructional practices.
“This residency program was developed and would be taught by CREC classroom teachers, who understand what a candidate needs to create an effective learning environment,” Cordova said. “We are proud of the collaborative spirit that created this comprehensive program, which addresses the continuing need to have teachers of color instructing CREC students,” she added, noting that the program’s development was a joint effort of CREC teachers and district administrators, with support from CEA.
Look for details about this and similar initiatives in the next CEA Advisor.
Members of the CEA-Retired Legislative Advisory Council prepare to meet with their elected officials at Retired Teachers Lobby Day.
In an overwhelming turnout for Retired Teachers Lobby Day, hundreds of former Connecticut educators gathered at the Legislative Office Building this morning to meet with their elected officials about issues critical to public education and the teaching profession. Among the biggest of these are funding teacher pensions and avoiding a proposed cost shift.
“We must avoid any shift of the state’s responsibility to fund teacher pensions onto cities and towns,” said CEA-Retired member and legislative co-chair Karen O’Connell—a move she cautions could impact education budgets, and in turn, students and teachers. The Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee is expected to vote on the issue by the end of the week.
O’Connell and legislative co-chair Myles Cohen said that Retired Teachers Lobby Day—a joint effort of CEA-Retired, the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut (ARTC), and AFT Connecticut—brings longtime educators and legislators face to face to discuss issues ranging from adequate funding of teachers’ retirement and healthcare benefits to the resources necessary to support public education. Read more
Connecticut Teacher of the Year Sheena Graham listens in on a discussion about teachers’ roles in addressing the racial imbalance in our juvenile and criminal justice system. Seated with Graham are CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas and Bridgeport Education Association Vice President Ana Batista.
Despite the tremendous progress Connecticut has made in reducing the number of incarcerated youth over the past 10 years, a troubling trend continues: Black and brown children continue to come in contact with the juvenile and criminal justice system in disproportionate numbers compared to their white peers. Studies have confirmed that bias is one factor—meaning that white children are less likely to be referred to the juvenile or criminal justice system than their nonwhite peers, even for the same behaviors.
To address this continued racial imbalance, CEA’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Commission (EMAC) hosted a film screening of CPTV’s Color of Justice Revisited, followed by a discussion—led by experts in their fields—about how educators can help end the school-to-prison pipeline. More than 60 educators attended the event at Testo’s Ristorante in Bridgeport on April 25. Read more
Teachers turned out in force at a Town Council Finance Subcommittee hearing in Trumbull to discuss proposed cuts to the district’s education budget.
CEA staff and leaders join striking Stop & Shop workers in Elmwood in a show of solidarity and support.
As the Stop & Shop strike continues with no deal reached on protecting employee wages, health benefits, and pensions, CEA staff, leaders, and members are joining picket lines across the state to show that teachers stand in solidarity with striking workers.
Yesterday nearly a dozen CEA leaders and staff walked with picketers outside the Stop & Shop supermarket in West Hartford’s Elmwood section, holding signs that read “Teachers Stand With You.” They thanked customers for honoring the picket line and supporting their community supermarket employees in their bargaining efforts.
“We are here with Stop & Shop employees until they get a fair wage and a fair contract,” said CEA President Jeff Leake, who has joined strikers at various locations.