CEA member Sheena Graham, a performing arts and choir teacher at Bridgeport’s Harding High School, has been named Connecticut's 2019 Teacher of the Year
Posts tagged ‘Bridgeport Education Association’
What do the events of 40 years ago have to do with teachers’ lives today? A lot, it turns out.
Active and retired teachers who gathered this May to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Bridgeport Teachers Strike reflected on how the lessons from the strike are still very relevant to teachers today. As teachers work to ensure the best for their students and keep the teaching profession strong, the motto of the strikers, “We stick together,” is still crucial today to ensuring success.
When Amy Broad, a building rep at Bridgeport’s Winthrop School, talks about union membership with teachers at her school, she puts it in a historical context. Without the sacrifice of the Bridgeport Education Association (BEA) members who went on strike in 1978, many of whom went to jail, teachers would not have the wages, benefits, and working conditions they enjoy today.
“A lot of people who are teaching now aren’t aware of what the strikers actually did,” the kindergarten teacher says. “We have the advantage of having prep periods, and pay, and collective bargaining, and all of that, and some teachers today don’t know where that came from. They don’t realize what was going on back before 1978, and that those things had to be fought for.”
The Bridgeport Strike was a defining moment for teachers in Connecticut, and its lessons about the importance of teachers sticking together still hold true today. Read more
Hours before a drastic budget measure affecting the district’s public schools was set to take effect, Bridgeport teachers held a news conference drawing attention to school officials’ refusal to hire substitute teachers for the month of May—a decision that threatens to disrupt learning and jeopardize student safety. Teachers called on administrators to reverse their decision and keep student safety and learning top priorities.
“Without substitutes, we’re not educating our students,” said Bridgeport Education Association President Gary Peluchette. “We’re warehousing them.” Read more
Public school teachers, parents, and CEA staff turned out in force at a State Board of Education (BOE) hearing this morning to oppose a charter school expansion that would carve into funds meant for Bridgeport Public Schools, which serve the majority of the city’s 21,000 students. In spite of powerful testimony opposing the expansion and diversion of funds, Board members voted 6-2 to grant the request.
The Bridgeport Education Association (BEA) is a strong and collaborative partner in developing strategies to implement Connecticut’s new reform law, Public Act 12-116. That’s the essence of commendations delivered this morning by state education officials and the Bridgeport school administration at a meeting of the State Board of Education in Hartford.
Among its many changes, the law provides for new “Commissioner’s Network” Schools, and Bridgeport’s James J. Curiale School is among the first four selected to develop a school turnaround plan. CEA Field Representative Michael Brady and Bridgeport Chief Administrative Officer Sandra Kase presented their plan today that is far reaching—impacting everything from the length of the school day and year along with additional student instruction and intervention to extensive professional development for teachers to new enrichment opportunities for students. Read the complete plan here.
The plan says that the “school’s greatest strength is its staff.” Kase today described BEA “as a strong and active colleague and an extremely close partner and collaborator” in developing the new turnaround plan. State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said the union and the school administration have worked tirelessly in recent months to develop their plan — approved by the State Board today and scheduled for initial implementation in the upcoming school year.
“Your gearing up is truly a miracle. I want to commend Sandra and Mike. You truly innovated.” said Pryor. Kase said, “There is hope in Bridgeport for the first time in a long time. Teachers have rallied. They have been asked to do a monumental task.”
CEA’s Brady told the State Board that Curiale, like other schools in Bridgeport, has suffered from a severe lack of resources and instructional material and many teachers are excited about the state assistance, upwards of $1 million, along with help from UConn’s School of Education and social service agencies, that comes with being in the Commissioner’s Network.
“You’ve hit the mother lode of bringing in the whole community. This is at the heart of whether the change can be sustained—the teachers have to be part of this and the parents,” said State Board member Terry Jones.
BEA President Gary Peluchette could not attend today’s Hartford meeting since he was meeting with teachers in Bridgeport on developing new evaluation plans. He said that the “Curiale plan is thanks to the hard work of teachers Gregory Furlong, Jennifer Keleman, and Katie McLeod, who serve on the school turnaround committee. It’s gratifying to see their extraordinary talent recognized as they made their voices heard and had teachers’ needs addressed in the plan. They are representative of other high-quality teachers who staff our schools and will collaborate on districtwide reform—something that’s necessary to meet the needs of all stakeholders.”