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Posts tagged ‘CCJEF’

CCJEF Ruling Fails Connecticut Students

Bridgeport teacher Greg Furlong shared his firsthand experiences with inadequate resources and support as a witness for CCJEF during the trial in Superior Court.

Yesterday’s State Supreme Court ruling in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell delivered a mixed verdict—bad for school funding, while rejecting the lower court’s attempt to create burdensome schemes for testing, teacher evaluation, and education policy.

The key issue in the CCJEF case was whether school funding in Connecticut is adequate. On this issue, the Court found that state funding meets the minimally adequate level required. This finding flies in the face of mounting evidence of poorly funded and resourced public schools throughout the state, especially in high poverty communities.

“This decision fails to protect education funding,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “Communities all over Connecticut have already seen the state withdraw from its obligation to fund our public schools,” Cohen observed. “Rather than protect the quality of education in our communities, this decision allows the governor and the legislature to continue to slash funding to our schools and children.” Read more

CEA President Sheila Cohen Statement on CCJEF Appeal

Today’s arguments in the CCJEF v. Rell case, regarding equality in funding and resources for our schools, are more important than ever. The lower court ruling last September—which failed to require full funding for education—has ironically opened the door to destructive state budget proposals that would undermine schools throughout Connecticut, including in numerous high poverty communities. These proposals provide little in new resources for the largest cities, pit other towns and communities against each another, and slash educational funding for the vast majority of towns and schools. This court decision must be overturned so that our children are not punished in a race to the bottom.

The Connecticut Supreme Court could take over a year to decide on an appeal of the CCJEF decision, but that is no excuse for Connecticut lawmakers to wait to act. The future of our state lies with our youngest residents—all of them—and their future depends on receiving a quality public education now. Lawmakers must take action now to invest in our students and public education.

Teachers Share Input on Teacher Evaluation, Common Core & More

Teachers are making their voices heard—talking to legislators and offering input on implementation of new federal education law. CEA County Forums around the state offer teachers an opportunity to meet CEA-endorsed candidates for elected office and share important information about what is going on in their classrooms.

Watch what teachers and legislators are saying about the forums and why you should attend. Then click here to register for an upcoming forum.

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Teachers on Why You Need to Attend a CEA County Forum

It’s your opportunity to help improve education policy in Connecticut: Don’t miss out.

Litchfield teachers were the first to take part in a CEA County Forum this fall, and they had a lot to say about how the Every Students Succeeds Act should be implemented in Connecticut. Teachers’ input is invaluable in determining how the new law will impact our students and our profession.

Watch why Litchfield County teachers say you should attend a forum in your county. Register to attend a forum today.

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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

CEA President on Appeal in Education Funding Case

img_gavel-balanceConnecticut Attorney General George Jepsen today announced the state will appeal part of the court’s ruling in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell.

“Under our system of government, state education policy is determined by the Legislative and Executive Branches and implemented under a strong tradition of local control by municipal school boards and, ultimately, teachers,” Jepsen said in a statement. “This decision would wrest educational policy from the representative branches of state government, limit public education for some students with special needs, create additional municipal mandates concerning graduation and other standards, and alter the basic terms of educators’ employment—and entrust all of those matters to the discretion of a single, unelected judge.” Read more

Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on CCJEF v. Rell Ruling

Today’s CCJEF v. Rell education funding ruling recognizes the necessity to do more for students in the greatest need—those attending schools in high-poverty communities. While the court emphasized that the majority of Connecticut schools and students do very well compared to other states and countries, schools in high-poverty districts have continuing challenges and achievement gaps.

In addition, the court was correct in finding that students in high-poverty communities have fewer resources and local revenues to support their schools.

Unfortunately, the court declined to provide any remedy for the disparity in resources and revenue for students in the state’s poorest communities—the essence and heart of the CCJEF litigation.

Also, the court’s attempt to impose one-size-fits-all mandates that erode flexibility and local education control penalizes the majority of Connecticut’s schools. These mandates fly in the face of the new federal Every Student Succeeds legislation, and are clearly within the purview of the state legislative and executive branches of government responsible for setting education policy in Connecticut.

For the past two legislative sessions, CEA has advocated for a better teacher evaluation system with less bureaucracy and paperwork, and more authentic and reliable measurement of student growth. We will continue to work for the improvement of the teaching profession, not only in the majority of schools where students are performing well, but especially in high-poverty communities where students deserve well-qualified, certified, and experienced teachers and administrators.

CEA stands ready to work with educational partners to ensure adequate and equitable resources for all students in the state of Connecticut.

On Trial: Every Child’s Right to an Equitable Education

Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell

Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell, testifying for the state of Connecticut, said, “I think leadership is a lot more important than the money.”

What’s more important when it comes to helping students in high-poverty districts succeed—increased funding or better leaders?

The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) spent the first two months of the landmark education funding trial currently underway in Hartford making the case that public schools need more funding in order to adequately and equitably serve all students. The coalition is made up of students, parents, towns, and education organizations and includes CEA.

Lawyers for CCJEF have argued that students in high-poverty districts–including Bridgeport, Danbury, East Hartford, New Britain, New London, and Windham–lack the critical educational resources they need to succeed. Additionally, their educational opportunities are significantly unequal and inequitable when compared to those of students in wealthier districts.

The state’s turn to present its defense began last week, and lawyers called Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell as their first witness. Wentzell laid the foundation for the state’s argument, saying that, while resources are important, it’s the leadership at the state, district, school, and classroom level that is ultimately critical for student success.

“I think leadership is a lot more important than the money,” Wentzell said, “though we’re always going to have some resources we need to steward.”

Lawyers for the state will be making the case that Connecticut already devotes significant funding to schools and has a proud history of local control over education and education funding. They also plan to argue that education reform measures already underway in the state have significant potential to improve student achievement. Read more