The Connecticut General Assembly held a veto session on Monday, July 20, but didn’t have the votes to overturn the governor’s veto of HB 6977, An Act Establishing Qualifications for the Commissioner of Education.
CEA will revisit the issue again in the next legislative session and urge legislators to once again support the measure, and require reasonable qualifications for the state’s education chief, similar to the qualifications required of the Commissioners of Corrections, Public Health, Emergency Management, and other state agency heads.
Read news articles
CT News Junkie article – General Assembly Opts Not to Override Malloy’s Vetoes.
CT Post – Legislature Does Not Override Any of Malloy’s Vetoes.
Hartford Courant – Legislature Does Not Override Any of Nine Malloy Vetoes.
House Bill 6977, An Act Establishing Qualifications for the Commissioner of Education, has been vetoed despite overwhelming bipartisan support, passing the State Senate unanimously and the House of Representatives 138-5. The bill would have required that the state’s education commissioner have an education degree, five years of experience as a teacher, and three years of experience as an administrator.
Please call or email your legislators immediately and:
- Thank them for their support of increased education funding in the state budget.
- Urge them to tell legislative leadership to override the governor’s veto and support HB 6977 requiring the education commissioner to have teaching experience!
Look up your legislators and their contact information here.
Why we need an override on HB 6977:
- Many other Connecticut state agency commissioners have specific qualification requirements.
- Nationwide, Connecticut is one of only four states that has no required qualifications for education commissioner of any kind.
- Our children deserve a Commissioner of Education who understands public education, and has walked in the shoes of teachers and administrators.
Read more here.
Saying children, parents, and communities always deserve a qualified and experienced leader at the helm of public education, Connecticut teachers are urging state legislators to override Governor Malloy’s veto of HB 6977, An Act Establishing Qualifications for the Commissioner of Education, a measure that passed the State Senate unanimously and the House of Representatives with overwhelming support (138-5).
“Look at the qualifications for other state agency heads in Connecticut, and you will see that their experience directly aligns with their job responsibilities. The education of our children demands experience and expertise. We cannot afford a second-rate approach to education leadership in Connecticut,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen.
Nationwide, only four states have no required qualifications of any kind for education commissioner. Connecticut is one of those four.
The bill that the governor vetoed would have required that the education commissioner have an education degree, five years of experience as a teacher, and three years of experience as an administrator. It was strongly supported by educators, including teachers and school administrators.
“Enacting these qualifications is long overdue. To be truly effective, the state’s education chief must have boots-on-the-ground experience in public education,” said Cohen. Read more
Former teacher Dr. Dianna Wentzell was today selected as Connecticut Commissioner of Education.
The next Connecticut commissioner of education is a long-time educator with many years of experience in the classroom and as a school leader. Dr. Dianna Wentzell was today named commissioner after serving as the interim commissioner of the department since January.
Wentzell has over 25 years of experience working in Connecticut public schools in roles including social studies teacher, curriculum director, chief academic officer, and assistant superintendent.
Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on Dr. Wentzell’s Selection as Education Commissioner
We welcome the recommendation of Dr. Dianna Wentzell, a person with such depth and experience in public education, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with her in the best interests of children, teachers, and public education.
We are pleased that Governor Malloy has acknowledged the voice of public school teachers regarding their desire that the next commissioner be a public school educator.
Dr. Wentzell recognizes that genuine collaboration among public education stakeholders will make Connecticut’s already strong public education system even stronger. Her willingness to listen—as well as her extensive direct teaching experience in our public schools—makes her a wise choice.
Her wealth of practical knowledge about what works in public education will be invaluable as she works to develop a vision for our public schools. CEA looks forward to communicating our strong support of Dr. Wentzell to the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee.
CEA has worked with Dr. Wentzell on numerous committees. We have found her to be a dedicated educator and sound collaborator with keen insights gathered on the frontlines of public education. These attributes are a big plus for Connecticut’s schoolchildren.
Watch video of Dr. Wentzell’s remarks today below.
Dianna Roberge-Wentzell was sworn in as interim commissioner of education this morning at a State Board of Education meeting.
At its meeting today, the State Board of Education (SBE) formally appointed a search committee to find a new commissioner of education for the state. Former Commissioner Stefan Pryor has left his post, and the SBE this morning swore in Dianna Roberge-Wentzell as interim commissioner as its first item of business.
Roberge-Wentzell, who had been serving as the State Department of Education’s chief academic officer, will lead the State Department of Education while the search committee carries out its work. While Roberge-Wentzell serves as interim commissioner, Academic Division Director Ellen Cohn will fill in as chief academic officer. Read more
One day after announcing he wouldn’t seek a second term, State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor defended his record, acknowledging there have been necessary revisions and much anxiety about his sweeping education changes.
Pryor told educators at the annual back-to-school meeting, “Let’s not settle for good enough when true excellence is needed. You are on the right track….you are getting the job done.”
Pryor pointed to student progress on NAEP, saying it can be characterized as a “thunderous clap of achievement.”
Regarding the overhaul of teacher evaluation, Pryor said, while the process has had its ups and downs and teachers felt it was a “gotcha game,” the revisions “have been very well justified,” adding that professional dialogue has been elevated with local ideas in local school districts.
Responding to concerns about the overreliance on testing, the department released information about a new program that will provide support to all districts for decreasing time used for assessment. In partnership with Achieve, the state piloted the program in eight districts last year to help them judge the alignment of assessment tools and practices, and decrease the number and reduce the reliance on assessments.
Pryor said, “ Together, we believe we can expand instructional time…do more instruction and less testing.” Click here for more information.
Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor announced today that he is resigning.
In a press release from the governor’s office, Pryor said he will not serve a second term and is actively seeking new professional opportunities.
CEA President Sheila Cohen today wished state Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor well in his prospective endeavors, and said “While we did not disagree with the commissioner on the goal of maintaining and improving public education for all students in Connecticut, we did disagree at times on how to reach that goal.”
Cohen said the spotlight of the state’s largest teachers’ union today is on the future, and her members are ready for a new day that underscores a thorough examination of the non-proven and unscientific reliance on standardized testing for students and teachers, of the establishment and the veracity of best practices as determined by the practicing and certified professional educator, as well as the high-quality education that every single student in Connecticut deserves, regardless of socio-economic factors, language barriers, or physical or other special needs circumstances.
Cohen used the opportunity of the resignation to call on state decision makers to select a successor with extensive public education boots-on-the-ground experience.
“CEA looks forward to the selection of a Connecticut public schools’ state steward who exemplifies a realistic and pragmatic—as well as visionary—voice for teachers, parents, and students. Connecticut’s teachers, with their unparalleled classroom perspective and their irreplaceable voice in public education policymaking, must be major players in every aspect of the determination of the future of public education,” Cohen said.
The State Department of Education is giving districts flexibility in implementing the state’s educator evaluation and support system for the 2013-14 school year. Read the complete text of Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor’s memo to stakeholders by clicking below.
Governor Malloy sent a letter today to leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly outlining his principles for education reform. According to his press release, the “principles will serve as a ‘roadmap’ for the upcoming 2012 session of the General Assembly, a session in which the Governor has repeatedly said he will focus on education.”
CEA’s executive director issued the following statement.
Statement from CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine
We commend the governor for his leadership on advancing high-quality public schools. In their collaborative outreach to CEA in recent months, both Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor have indicated they recognize that high-quality teachers are the greatest asset in public education.
Teachers want to use their experience in the classroom to help the governor enact changes that will improve education for the students of our state, so we look forward to working with the governor and the commissioner on these issues.
We could not agree more with the governor that our state’s economic future is dependent on our students’ educational outcomes. As CEA has repeatedly indicated: We live in a knowledge-based global economy, and generations of citizens—young and old—depend on our students being able to compete in a global economy.