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Connecticut Supreme Court Rules in Favor of New Milford Teachers

A four-year court case regarding a contract violation by the New Milford Board of Education against its teachers ended last Friday with a ruling in favor of the teachers. In a unanimous decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the New Milford Board of Education violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreement by improperly extending the workday for teachers on multiple occasions.

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Building Rep Karen Rivero, New Milford Education Association Membership Secretary Joyce Tuz, and NMEA President Kim Patella react to the news of New Milford teachers’ victory in a contract dispute.

The decision requires the town to compensate members of the New Milford Education Association for 20 hours of additional time they were required to work without pay.

“This is a huge victory for us and for the teaching profession, and a testament to the incredible power of our union and expertise of CEA’s legal team,” said New Milford Education Association President Kim Patella. “This case has proven that regardless of the number of times a board tries to get a ruling appealed, when we stand together as a unit, part of something we believe in, which is our union, we can prevail.” Read more

New Program Seeks to Recruit, Retain Minority Teachers

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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.

Retired Teachers Lobby Legislators to Support Teacher Pensions and More

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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

Exploring How Teachers Can Combat the School-to-Prison Pipeline

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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

Workshop for CEA Members: Working with Transgender Students

Much of our society and the systems within it live as if the world exists in binary form. Male/female. Masculine/feminine. Man/woman. Either/or. The “both/and/neither/nor” identities inherent in transgender, gender creative, and gender fluid students (and coworkers) can bring up questions and concerns. This workshop is designed to address them.

This free workshop, only open to CEA members, will take place May 16 at the Sheraton Hartford South in Rocky Hill and be presented by Robin ​P. ​McHaelen, ​MSW. ​​McHaelen ​is ​the ​founder ​and ​current ​Executive ​Director ​of ​True ​Colors, ​Inc. and the co-author ​of ​several ​books ​and ​articles ​on ​LGBT ​youth ​concerns.

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Building Rep Role Vital to Teachers

Building reps are often a teacher’s first point of contact when questions arise—ranging from practical matters to sensitive subjects. They are their colleagues’ contract enforcer, organizer, and spokesperson.

A building rep’s job is vital, but it’s time-consuming, and often receives little thanks.

That’s why we’re recognizing building reps around the state for their dedication to their colleagues and their willingness to devote time out of their busy schedules to this important job.

Building Rep Matt Taber has been a science teacher at Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham for nine years, and is in his second year as a building rep.

“I was recruited by teachers at my school, and I wanted to get more involved,” Taber says about his decision to become a building rep.” There were some issues around the school that I felt could use some addressing.” Read more

Legislators Need to Hear from Teachers on Classroom Safety Bill

An important bill that would improve classroom safety and school climate is facing a deadline for action in the Appropriations Committee.

Please urge your legislators to act and make our classrooms safe places to learn and teach.

Click here to contact your legislators if they serve on the Appropriations Committee.

Click here to send a message to any legislator.

 

10 Free Things for Mother’s Day

1. Acrostic Mother’s Day Poems
Students in grades 1-2 write acrostic poems for Mother’s Day.

2. Pop Up Mother’s Day Card

Step-by-step instructions for making a pop up flower card. (K-5)

3. Mother’s Day

(K-12) Brief videos on the history of Mother’s Day around the world.

4. MFA Tour: Motherhood

(K-12) A collection of 64 images and descriptions from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Read more

CEA to Stop & Shop Workers: Teachers Stand with You

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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.

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Join the Sound Tigers for the 2019 Playoffs

sound-tigers-goalieLooking for something to do this weekend? The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are headed to the playoffs, and CEA members can attend with one of two great ticket packages.

The Sound Tigers are playing THIS Friday and Saturday Night at 7 p.m. against the Hershey Bears in Round 1 of the playoffs.  They’re offering CEA members a special ticket and T-shirt package OR a ticket, food, and beverage package. You can also buy your tickets online. Discounted tickets are available for just $12.